The American Lung Association (ALA) released the 2014 rankings for the cities with the highest and lowest amount of air pollution. The ALA divides the tested pollution into three categories: ozone, year round particle pollution and short-term particle pollution. The Los Angeles Long Beach area ranked in the top five for all three categories with other cities in California among them.
The ALA states that more than 4 in 10 (44.8%) people in the United States reside in areas that have unhealthy levels of ozone. The heavy traffic contributes to the excessive amount of ozone and pollution in the air. Traffic pollution can have negative effects on people’s lungs and arteries. Two major pollutants that result from this are carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides. With climate change being a hot topic, it is important to note that rising temperatures create favorable conditions for the forming
of ozone: the higher the temperatures, the more prominent the levels of ozone.
46.2 million American citizens live in areas with unhealthy levels of year round particle pollution. Long-term exposure to harmful particulates can increase the risk of hospitalization for asthma, lung damage and premature death. Fresno-Madera, CA, became the most polluted city in the country for year-round particle pollution. Overall, the ALA did see an improvement for most cities in this category.
44.1 million people in the United States live in areas with too many low quality air days. Fifty American counties experienced a high number of days with high spikes in particle pollution in the last year. These short-term spikes can last between hours to a number of days. It can increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes and emergency room visits for asthma, cardiovascular disease and premature death. Fresno-Madera, California, ranked as the most polluted for short-term particle levels.
Bangor, Maine, and Austin, Texas, ranked among the top cleanest cities in America! You can check out how the air quality is where you live by visiting www.stateoftheair.org.