Clean Air, Smart Kids

Clean Air, Smart Kids

Ideal Impressions Photography

Word today from Pediatrics magazine that babies who are exposed to elevated levels of air pollution before birth were found to have lower IQ scores than unborn babies who were not exposed to significant levels of airborn pollution. Yes, I said babies, and yes, I also said before they were born. So pollution is, according to our doctor friends, not good for pregnant women to be constantly exposed to. You know where I’m going with this… So if Chicago has a pretty high level of air pollution when compared with, say, Lake Geneva, we’re going to have to do something about ensuring high IQ scores for your future children (or grandchildren, or neices, or nephews, or friend’s children). Realtors who look out for customers as of yet unborn children? Unhead of.

You don’t believe me do you. I’ll have to call in some help from the fellas at to further convince you of this new found truth. Bestplaces is the site I often use to call out errors in Tim Allen’s poetic commercials, because I have this weird feeling that anything he says set to the backdrop of piano music sounds 100% accurate. In this application, we’ll use bestplaces to take a look at the air quality of a couple places that you might be familiar with. Lake Geneva has an air quality reading of 56, and a superfund index of 61 (higher number is better). The superfund index works into this little study because it’s a measure of possible factories with high levels of EPA superfund sites (hazardous sites) present. So Lake Geneva looks pretty good on paper, but wait until I put this into a some further context for you. If you’re reading this from Chicago, you might want to hold your breath. The air quality of Chicago? 1. One. Two less than three. One. One point higher than wrapping your mouth around the tail pipe of your car and taking a deep breath.

The superfund index? 10. Ouch. So the air quality is 55 points lower than Lake Geneva’s, and the superfund index a full 51 points lower. Looking like Lake Geneva has the city beat hands down in terms of clean air, but that shouldn’t really be a surprise. Lake Geneva is, after all, a small town of about 8,000 while Chicago is a vibrant metropolis with nearly 3MM residents. So maybe we should compare Lake Geneva to a more suitable city. Maybe somewhere else that Chicago residents might escape to thinking they’d be able to clear their head and their lungs at the same time. Somewhere like, New Buffalo maybe?

New Buffalo, famed recipient of the Tool Man’s overtures, certainly has to be a pure location like our Binford loving friend insists. Right? Not so fast, New Buffalo. The air quality in NB is 40 (Lake Geneva’s is 56- higher score is better). The superfund index is 10 (51 lower than LG), making a small town of about 3,000 miserably equal in EPA rated superfund pollution sites as a city of 3MM. I’m shocked and saddened by the lack of fresh air available in “Harbor Country”.

So there you have it. Escaping the city on the weekend is indeed good for your health, and for the IQ of your future children (or others children, but I have to write that so I don’t get in trouble for supposedly only addressing people with unborn children in their wombs). Harbor Country, for all it’s purported purity, is a woeful option indeed. The week looks beautiful, the air tantalizingly clean, and the water is the perfect temperature for an afternoon dip. (Remember, boat rides on the house this week if you’re game.)

Clean air and smart kids, reason #3,432,893 that Lake Geneva is the place for you.

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