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America’s Unhealthiest Cities for Polluted Air

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, April 21, 2021 (HealthDay Information) — Greater than 40% of Individuals reside with unhealthy air, in accordance with the American Lung Affiliation’s annual “State of the Air” report.

Sure cities, and sure kinds of Individuals, are much more vulnerable to be affected.

Black Individuals are 61% extra more likely to reside in a county shrouded in unhealthy air than white folks and thrice extra more likely to reside in a county with failing air-quality grades throughout the board, the ALA report discovered.

Furthermore, the report says local weather change continues to worsen air air pollution in a lot of the nation.

“This report shines a highlight on the pressing have to curb local weather change, clear up air air pollution and advance environmental justice,” mentioned Harold Wimmer, president and CEO of the American Lung Affiliation.

“The nation has an actual alternative to handle all three without delay — and to try this, we should middle on well being and well being fairness as we transfer away from combustion and fossil fuels to wash, renewable vitality,” Wimmer mentioned in an ALA information launch.


The 2021 “State of the Air” report analyzes U.S. Environmental Safety Company information from 2017 to 2019 — three of the six hottest years ever recorded globally.

Due to local weather change, many Western states proceed to expertise record-breaking highs in particle air pollution on account of smoke from wildfires.

Altering local weather patterns that gas wildfires additionally enhance temperatures that result in extra ozone air pollution. This poor air high quality threatens everybody, however particularly kids, older adults and folks residing with a lung disease.

Analysis additionally exhibits that air air pollution could make COVID-19 worse, the authors identified.

The report highlights the 2 most widespread outside air pollution: ground-level ozone air pollution and particle air pollution. Each are harmful to public well being and probably lethal.

Particle air pollution — or soot — comes from wildfires, wood-burning stoves, coal-fired energy vegetation, diesel engines and different sources. Generally known as PM2.5, these microscopic particles can set off asthma attacks, heart attacks, strokes and cause lung cancer.

Analysis has additionally tied particle air pollution to different severe ailments, akin to asthma and dementia, and to worse COVID-19 outcomes.


As a result of wildfire smoke and residential wood-burning, almost 54 million Individuals reside with harmful spikes in short-term particle air pollution, whereas greater than 21 million reside in counties with unhealthy ranges of year-round particle air pollution, the lung affiliation says.

Ozone air pollution irritates the respiratory system. It may trigger shortness of breath, coughing and bronchial asthma assaults, and should shorten life. Analysis additionally hyperlinks smog to a better threat of situations akin to diabetes.

Greater than 123 million Individuals reside in a county with a failing grade for ozone air pollution, together with 28 million kids and 18 million folks age 65 and older.

Under are cities with the dirtiest and cleanest air:

Prime 10 U.S. cities with essentially the most short-term particle air pollution (24-hour)

  • Fairbanks, Alaska
  • Fresno-Madera-Hanford, Calif.
  • Bakersfield, Calif.
  • San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, Calif.
  • Yakima, Wash.
  • Los Angeles-Lengthy Seaside, Calif.
  • Logan, Utah-Idaho
  • Redding-Purple Bluff, Calif.
  • Missoula, Mont.
  • Sacramento-Roseville, Calif.

Prime 10 U.S. cities with essentially the most year-round particle air pollution

  • Bakersfield, Calif.
  • Fresno-Madera-Hanford, Calif.
  • Visalia, Calif.
  • Los Angeles-Lengthy Seaside, Calif.
  • Medford-Grants Move, Ore.
  • Fairbanks, Alaska
  • San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, Calif.
  • Phoenix-Mesa, Ariz.
  • Pittsburgh-New Fortress-Weirton, Pa.-Ohio-West Va.
  • El Centro, Calif.


Prime 10 cities most polluted by ozone

  • Los Angeles-Lengthy Seaside, Calif.
  • Bakersfield, Calif.
  • Visalia, Calif.
  • Fresno-Madera-Hanford, Calif.
  • Phoenix-Mesa, Ariz.
  • Sacramento-Roseville, Calif.
  • San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, Calif.
  • Salt Lake Metropolis-Provo-Orem, Utah
  • Denver-Aurora, Colo.
  • San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, Calif.

Cities with the cleanest air

  • Burlington-South Burlington-Barre, Vt.
  • Charlottesville, Va.
  • Elmira-Corning, N.Y.
  • Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Wilmington, N.C.

“Too many individuals are respiration unhealthy air, and they’re disproportionately more likely to be folks of colour,” Wimmer mentioned.

“Be a part of us in calling on President Biden to advertise environmental justice by prioritizing traditionally burdened communities for air pollution cleanup and to obtain the advantages of investments within the transition to electrical automobiles and clear, renewable electrical energy,” he added.

The report was launched April 21.

Extra info

For extra on air air pollution and well being, see the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCE: American Lung Affiliation, information launch, April 21, 2021

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