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Lung Association: Dallas-Fort Worth among top cities for ozone pollution

🕐 2 min read

California has had a rough go this year. The state’s historic drought is impacting the lives of Californians and now the drought is exacerbating California’s air pollution, according a new report by American Lung Association.

But Californians are not alone. More than four in 10 Americans live in counties where the air is unhealthy to breathe due to ozone or particle pollution. That’s almost 138.5 million people, or 44 percent of the U.S. population, according the Association’s 16th annual “State of the Air” report, which studied air quality data collected from 2011 through 2013. The report also ranks U.S. cities by air quality based on measurements of particle pollution and ozone pollution.

Particle pollution is quite dangerous and made of fine particulates of chemicals, metals, acids, soil and dust that are small enough to infect the bloodstream and trigger asthmatic attacks.

According to CBS, the number of Americans living in unhealthy areas has slightly decreased from last year’s report, but overall the report is mixed. While some cities saw improvements, others had more “episodes of unhealthy air,” according to the association. The “best progress,” the association said, came in the eastern half of the country where cleaner diesel fleets and cleaner power plants led to a continued reduction of year-round particle pollution.

The West did not fare as well. “Many cities, especially in the West, had record numbers of days with high short-term particle pollution,” Janice Nolen, the Lung Association’s vice president for national policy and advocacy, told the Palm Springs Desert Sun. California, in particular, scored low on air quality due in part to the drought, which causes warmer weather that results in increases levels of ozone or smog.

“Heat is one of the ingredients that is key to making ozone,” Nolen told CBS.

“As we are seeing temperatures increase across the nation, it means that we have a harder time cleaning up ozone,” she also said.

“Overall, we have made great improvements, but we do know we are still facing challenges, especially challenges created by climate change and some of the impacts warmer climates have on creating more ozone and particle pollution,” Nolen also explained.

Here’s a look at the nation’s most polluted cities, according to the American Lung Association’s report.

Top 10 U.S. cities most polluted by short-term particle pollution

Fresno-Madera, Calif.

Bakersfield, Calif.

Visalia-Porterville-Hanford, Calif.

Modesto-Merced, Calif.

Los Angeles-Long Beach, Calif.

San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, Calif.

Salt Lake City-Provo-Orem, Utah

Logan, Utah-Idaho Metropolitan Statistical Area

Fairbanks, Alaska

Pittsburgh-New Castle-Weirton, Pa.-Ohio-West Va.

Top 10 U.S. cities most polluted by year-round particle pollution

Fresno-Madera, Calif.

Bakersfield, Calif.

Visalia-Porterville-Hanford, Calif.

Modesto-Merced, Calif.

Los Angeles-Long Beach, Calif.

El Centro, Calif.

San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, Calif.

Cincinnati-Wilmington-Maysville, Ohio-Ky.-Ind. Metropolitan Statistical Area

Pittsburgh-New Castle-Weirton, Pa.-Ohio-West Va. Metropolitan Statistical Area

Cleveland-Akron-Canton, Ohio

Top 10 most ozone-polluted cities

Los Angeles-Long Beach, Calif.

Visalia-Porterville-Hanford, Calif.

Bakersfield, Calif.

Fresno-Madera, Calif.

Sacramento-Roseville, Calif.

Houston-The Woodlands, Texas

Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas-Okla. Metropolitan Statistical Area

Modesto-Merced, Calif.

Las Vegas-Henderson, Nev.-Ariz. Metropolitan Statistical Area

Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz.

American Lung Association:

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