Jersey's bad air days

No surprise to anyone with a window in New Jersey: The state is fifth smoggiest in America, with seven counties in the top 20.

With the help of Philadelphia (thanks, neighbor!), Camden County is eighth; clusters of Central and North Jersey counties claim 15th and 17th place; and Trenton comes in at 20.

The green advocacy group Environment America’s new "Danger in the Air" report acknowledges that air quality “has improved significantly in the last decade” throughout the United States, but warns that ground-level ozone, the main component of smog, can worsen asthma and other pulmonary conditions. Just ask hot-air expert and asthma patient Chris Christie, who was hospitalized briefly after he had trouble breathing one sultry late July morning in Somerset County (#17, along with nearby Middlesex and Hunterdon).

The report arrives two weeks after President Obama’s cave-in on tighter smog regulations, which he wants to delay until 2013 to reduce “regulatory burdens” on the economic recovery he’s busy envisioning/imagining.

Will our supposedly socialist president’s latest bow to the right prove as effective a “job creator” as his other economic policies?

Don’t hold your breath.


Mid-1950s photo of Camden from

To read more from the metro columnists, go to