American Lung Association Releases Annual 'State of the Air' Report
The American Lung Association has released the results of its 16th annual "State of the Air" report, finding that "more than 4 in 10 people in the United States live in counties that have unhealthy levels of either ozone or particle pollution."
According to a press release announcing the report, many parts of the country are making encouraging progress in the "long fight for cleaner, healthier air for all Americans." In fact, "[th]e best progress showed in levels of year-round particle pollution, which have been steadily improving. For that you can thank the transition to cleaner diesel fuel and engines and steps taken to clean up power plants, especially in the eastern U.S.," according to the press release.
Not all the news was good, however. Some cities got worse for ozone levels, and "[d]angerous short-term spikes in particle pollution increased in many cities, particularly in the western U.S., with some cities showing their worst problems since the report began." That latter issue has everything to do with climate change, according to the press release.
In addition to the policy recommendations included in the report and summarized in the press release, the State of the Air study includes a ranking of metropolitan areas, best and worst, on three measures of air pollution: Ozone, Year-Round Particle Pollution, and Short-Term Particle Pollution. The most polluted and cleanest cities on those measures are as follows:
Ozone: Los Angeles, California
Year-Round Particle Pollution: Fresno-Madera, California
Short-term Particle Pollution: Fresno-Madera, California
Ozone: Bellingham, Washington
Year-Round Particle Pollution: Prescott, Arizona
Short-term Particle Pollution: Alexandria, Louisiana