Spring Fever Comes To The Great Lakes


by Laura Michelle Burns

As the spring comes to Ohio (and all over the US), our residents brace themselves for the return of high ozone levels. The rising temperatures can have a dramatic affect on the weather surrounding the Great Lakes, causing ozone levels to exceed allowable ranges.

Because of the variability in our region’s climate, health concerns are deeply impacted. The higher temperatures lead to increases in power demands and emissions during the Spring and Summer, which in turn worsen the air pollution. The increasing temperatures speed up the chemical reactions that create smog and ozone. These reactions then lead to an increase in the transportation of air-borne allergens…exacerbating the symptoms in asthma sufferers. In short, taking our kids out to play in the nice weather just isn’t what we dream it to be, especially if we have kids with asthma.

And, in case you didn’t know this, between 14% and 90% of allergens and pollutants make their way to the Great Lakes via cross-country air currents. These air currents are so powerful that a pesticide called Toxaphene, once used extensively in the South to coat cotton, has been transported via these currents all the way up to the Lakes. It’s not enough that this chemical is traveling up to us, but this chemical has been banned for 20 years, and still has lasting impacts on our soil, air and water.

Further complicating our Spring plans is the impact that the warmer weather has on the water. Since Ohio’s Northern border is water, we need to be aware of how weather changes allow for additional pollutants. Of course, the pollutants in the water have a negative effect on the already less than healthy fish population, but the warmer the summer, the more quickly the water will stratify, which causes a reduction in beneficial algae. Since the algae isn’t there to consume the toxins, water-based pollutants are in higher numbers leaving our summer swimmers at an increased risk of exposure.

As we wait for the warm weather to be upon us for the duration of the summer, it is time to once again stand up for the stricter air quality standards. As we celebrate the breezes that blow by while we play with our children in the sunshine, let’s remember that those sweet children are the reason why we fight for clean air.

Please take action with Moms Clean Air Force.


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Photo credit: dekok


Dave C.
David C5 years ago

there is only one planet for life.....lets hope we wake up before we leave the future generations none.....

Dee D.
De D5 years ago

thanks for the post

Grace Adams
Grace Adams5 years ago

There are at least two ways to deal with the heavy metals in coal smoke. One is to remove the heavy metals from the coal before burning using something that looks and acts like a small oil refinery. Another is to capture all the smoke coming out of the smokestack. It takes an Integrated Coal-gasification Combined Cycle coal-fired electric plant to be able to capture all the smoke like that. CO2 can be made good use of as the hydraulic/heat-transfer fluid in Enhanced Geothermal Systems, thus sequestering the CO2 and killing two birds with one stone. It might almost pay the Koch brothers to spend the somewhere between $1 and $2 billion it would take to complete the R&D needed to get the cost of EGS down to $0.07/kWh and agree to a user-fee and rebate system to get the cost of coal-fired electric up to $0.07/kWh, and while they are at it, make the rebates for investment in efforts to control pollution and develop sustainable energy products to replace the various fossil fuels available ONLY to owners of fossil fuel firms so everyone else has to either sell their rebate claims to fossil fuel firms or lose them. That way, at least running out of fossil fuel rather than global warming will be the first limiting factor on our use of fossil fuels for energy.

nicola w.
Jane H5 years ago

Doris M - I can't agree with the laissez faire attitude - within your own life time has the neighbourhood , bush, lakes or gardens improved - are there less birds ,bees, lizards & mammals like everywhere else - are there more feral species, more kids with allergies/ behaviour disorders , more cancers...we even put silicone into ice cream for gods sake ...
then we rub on nanoparticle makeup and sunscreen and never wonder what it is we are absorbing- noone is studying the collective assault/effect of such chemicals....
I got cancer at a very young age and not ONE doctor asked me about what I did /took/ate did in my life ....
I think the fight to stay informed , MAKE politicians,food,chemical companies aware we are NOT stupid - needs to keep going STRONG.
Ok I'll get off the (organic) soap box now ...I do worry about what we're doing and yes there are days I'd rather pull the doona over my head.

Margaret M.
Marge F5 years ago

Thank-you for the informative post. Personally, I think all the advances made in our modern technology has its disadvantages as well. We have found many ways to help people live longer. We have yet to find ways to take care of the aging population & put quality into their life which is longer.

ANA MARIJA R5 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

J.L. A.
j A5 years ago

Great explanation of why the US needs the EPA's interstate pollution rules and the consequences of the delays the GOP sought.

Judith H.
Judith H5 years ago

might as well walk around with a respirator on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Myron Scott
Myron Scott5 years ago

John M: Are you serious????

Myron Scott
Myron Scott5 years ago

As a member, I submit that the Occupy movement needs to address environmental issues, among others, more directly and specifically. Simply saying you're anti-bank and maybe anti-corporate isn't going to cut it.