[Source: Associated Press] — Air quality officials say fewer construction industry trucks and workers kicking up dust may be one of the reasons the Phoenix area recorded fewer bad air days in the past two years. Two years ago, monitors in and around Maricopa County registered unhealthful readings for particulate pollution on 27 occasions. But since then, air pollution levels have exceeded the federal health standard far less often — only 11 times in 2007 and eight times so far this year.
The slowdown in the construction industry is likely a significant reason for the lower numbers, officials say. “I think it has to be a factor, but I don’t know that it’s the only factor,” said Holly Ward, a spokeswoman for Maricopa County’s Air Quality Department. Tougher enforcement from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and increased awareness may also be helping the situation. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]