The Check-Up: Philly, We Have a Smog Problem

We racked up 29 days of unhealthy air last year. Shame on us

• According to a report released yesterday by the advocacy group Environment America, the Philadelphia metro area is the eighth smoggiest region in the country. We seem to have racked up 29 “smog days” in 2010—days in which we were breathing unhealthy air. Yikes. Among those, we had three red-alert days, when the pollution was bad enough that you may have begun to experience adverse health effects; on a color-coded scale, red is the second highest alert level, just behind purple, which is considered “very unhealthy” and downright dangerous. Among large metropolitan areas, which includes places with populations of over 1 million people, we come in fifth. And in a ranking of states according to smog days, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, with 35 smog days a piece, tie for fifth. Among the health concerns associated with smog: asthma attacks, increased difficulty breathing and reduced lung function. Before you start ranting about Philly and the sad state of our air (which you totally should in the comments), thank your lucky stars that you don’t live in California: Residents of the Golden State experienced 135 total smog days in 2010, including 27 red-alert days and two purple alerts.

• Since we’re all about dancing right now, this story about silent discos seems appropriate. Apparently clubs in Europe have started throwing “silent” dance parties, ones where club-goers wear wireless headphones that pipe through DJ-spun tunes. To the observer, that means everyone’s dancing … in silence. I’m not completely sure what the appeal is here—other than the fact that you could take your headphones off and talk to someone at a normal volume—but apparently the trend is catching on in the States. One thing’s for sure: All that headphone-wearing makes me wonder what such a party might do for the ringing in your ears. My bet’s on “it would make it much, much worse.”