The plot thickens. Or, perhaps it's the air over St. Louis as a new report claims that air pollution over the big city could soon become "dangerous". Let's explore what that means.

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Full disclosure - I tend to be skeptical when I'm told about climate change. Whenever someone tells me something about the environment, I immediately want to know if the person or organization has an agenda. Keep that in mind as we proceed.

Stacker just shared a new report about "places where air pollution could be considered dangerous by the EPA". On their list is a city familiar to all of us...St. Louis. Here's the map they created and shared by writer Emma Rubin.

Infographic, Emma Rubin/Stacker
Infographic, Emma Rubin/Stacker
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Notice the area over St. Louis is in the yellow range meaning approaching dangerous levels. But, does this mean air pollution is becoming a worse issue in St. Louis? Not exactly. The article says "the EPA's Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee is seeking to make the standards around air quality and pollution stricter". Translation? It's not necessarily increasing air pollution, but the EPA is making what is considered dangerous lower.

I want to be clear that I'm not trying to diminish air pollution problems in St. Louis. My point is that the problem may not necessarily be increasing. It's just what is considered "dangerous" is changing. Perhaps that's the correct move, but it's important to understand what reports like this really mean.

For giggles, I decided to go to the EPA's website and see how they rate the air over St. Louis right now. It says that air pollution is "moderate".

Air Now.gov
Air Now.gov
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That's not great news, but it does mean perhaps St. Louis hasn't reached the apocalyptic quality that the word "dangerous" infers. It's true that the world can do a better job managing the air and environment around us. Just be careful about the agenda behind those sharing news like this.

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