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Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:55 PM

Residents in several nearby counties will soon get some advanced warning when pollution levels reach potentially dangerous levels.

Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Lake, Lorain, Medina, Portage and Summit counties are all part of the counties covered by new warnings, issued by the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency, which monitors air quality issues in the Greater Cleveland area.

Residents in the seven counties will be able to monitor the group's Web site (www.noacaorg) and can also receive e-mail messages, warning of elevated soot levels, caused by vehicles and industrial plants.

But what's the big deal, it's just a little soot, right?

Well, when the soot level reaches past the designated healthy level, normal adults might only experience a sore throat or slight difficulty breathing. However the particles and soot pollution can aggravate heart conditions and lodge deep in the lungs, causing breathing problems, chronic bronchitis and asthma flare-ups, according to the director of Cleveland's health department.

And Cleveland was recently named the sixth-most polluted city in the country.

This warning system is a good step for those living, working or simply visiting the Greater Cleveland area. With more and more Americans living longer, and managing chronic lung and heart diseases, it is important to know when pollution is at its worst, allowing residents to limit outdoor activity.

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