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Lots to Sneeze At

Based on pollen counts and ozone pollutants, an environmental advocacy group determines the sneeziest cities in America.

| BY Kent McDill

The question is painful to ask: How can I suffer from hay fever when I haven’t been near a farm in years?

It’s hay fever season, as pollen counts get as much attention as rainfall totals in some cities. In fact, the National Resources Defense Council knows exactly what cities are most concerned about pollen counts and mold numbers.

The NRDC, an environmental advocacy group, has issued an annual report on the top 35 U.S. cities most affected by pollen and ozone pollution, and determines the “sneeziest, wheeziest” city in the United States.

“Americans deserve to breathe clean air, but today millions of us are sneezing and wheezing from allergies and asthma worsened by climate change-fueled ragweed pollen and ozone smog pollutants,” wrote report author Juan Declet-Barreto.

The report estimates that 109 million Americans suffer from physical ailments as a result of ozone content and high pollen counts.

According to the report, there are regions of the country most affected and effecting for pollen sufferers. They are the Los Angeles basin, the Great Lakes Region, the St. Louis area, the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast.

While the NRDC has advocacy in mind by issuing the report, its findings were backed up last year by the federal National Climate Assessment report, which warned that the combination of ozone levels and allergens would worsen due to climate change.

The top 10 cities for sneezing and wheezing in America are almost all east of the Mississippi River. They are led by Richmond, Va., which has been called the Allergy capital of America by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America two years running.

The rest of the top 10 sneeziest cities are:

2. Memphis

3. Oklahoma City

4. Philadelphia

5. Chattanooga, Tenn.

6. Chicago

7. Detroit

8. New Haven, Conn.

9. Allentown, Pa.

10. Atlanta

 



About the Author


Kent McDill

kmcdill@spectrem.com

Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.

In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.

McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.

McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy  Buffett and all things Disney.