Is our air quality really that good?

I am amazed at statements about our air quality and viewing sites like the weathernetwork.com that report air quality as good when I can smell and taste the sulphur dioxide in the air in and around my home.

A:

While significant improvements have been realized in the past, the latest results show continued improvements from 1998 to 2007, the years covered in the report. During the 1970s, 1980s and up to the early 1990s, there were up to 50 to 60 hours per year when concentrations of sulphur gases from the smelters were measured above the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change 1 hour criterion. Since then, the measurements show that these events occur less than 7 times per year. So there are still times when sulphur gas from the smelters reaches ground level in the community, especially during the summer months. When this occurs, people can smell and taste the sulphur gases as you noted. However the results for the period 1998 to 2007 show that this happens less frequently and the levels are not as high as in the past. The station that reports the air quality for Sudbury for the Weather Network is located on Ramsey Lake Road.