Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

25 Most and Least Polluted Cities in America

Health + Wellness
25 Most and Least Polluted Cities in America

The American Lung Association′s (ALA) annual "State of the Air" report came out Wednesday. The report reviews monitoring data on the two most common and harmful types of air pollution—ozone (smog) and particle pollution (soot)—and compiles "a report card" telling how much of each type of pollution is in the air where you live.

Los Angeles is the number one most ozone-polluted city.
Razvan Bucur / Shutterstock.com

The state of the air in the U.S. is still appalling. As much as we criticize China for its abhorrent air pollution levels, the U.S. has a long way to go to ensuring clean air for everyone. More than 4 in 10 people in the U.S. live in counties that have unhealthy levels of either ozone or particle pollution, according to the ALA. "High levels of pollution can cause severe asthma attacks, heart attacks and strokes," says the ALA. "Recently, the World Health Organization concluded that particle pollution can cause lung cancer, the number one cancer killer in America."

While some cities improved, other cities only got worse. "Dangerous 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," says the ALA. The report even found climate change is exacerbating air pollution. "Climate change creates the ideal conditions for both particle and ozone pollution," says the ALA. "Warmer weather increases the risk of ozone pollution and makes cleaning it up even more challenging. Rising temperatures also increase droughts, wildfires and other sources of particle pollution."

The report is very thorough, breaking down the findings to rank cities and counties based on short-term particle pollution, year-round particle pollution and ozone pollution. It found that nearly 24 million people (7.6 percent) in the U.S. live in counties with unhealthful year-round levels of particle pollution and nearly 17.8 million people live in 12 counties with unhealthful levels of all three: ozone and short-term and year-round particle pollution.

Here are some of the report's rankings of the most and least polluted American cities. For a full list click here.

People at Risk In 25 U.S. Cities Most Polluted by Short-term Particle Pollution

 People at Risk In 25 U.S. Cities Most Polluted by Year-Round Particle Pollution

People at Risk In 25 Most Ozone-Polluted Cities

Cleanest U.S. Cities for Short-term Particle Pollution

Top 25 Cleanest U.S. Cities for Year-Round Particle Pollution

Cleanest U.S. Cities for Ozone Air Pollution

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Alaskan Entrepreneur Wants to Sell Bulk Water Shipments to Drought-Stricken California

Organic Milk Under Attack by Scaremongers

Night Sky Comes Alive in Breathtaking Time-Lapse Viral Video

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

This image of the Santa Monica Mountains in California shows how a north-facing slope (left) can be covered in white-blooming hoaryleaf ceanothus (Ceanothus crassifolius), while the south-facing slope (right) is much less sparsely covered in a completely different plant. Noah Elhardt / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 2.5

By Mark Mancini

If weather is your mood, climate is your personality. That's an analogy some scientists use to help explain the difference between two words people often get mixed up.

Read More Show Less
Flames from the Lake Fire burn on a hillside near a fire truck and other vehicles on Aug. 12, 2020 in Lake Hughes, California. Mario Tama / Getty Images

An "explosive" wildfire ignited in Los Angeles county Wednesday, growing to 10,000 acres in a little less than three hours.

Read More Show Less
Although heat waves rarely get the attention that hurricanes do, they kill far more people per year in the U.S. and abroad. greenaperture / Getty Images

By Jeff Berardelli

Note: This story was originally published on August 6, 2020

If asked to recall a hurricane, odds are you'd immediately invoke memorable names like Sandy, Katrina or Harvey. You'd probably even remember something specific about the impact of the storm. But if asked to recall a heat wave, a vague recollection that it was hot during your last summer vacation may be about as specific as you can get.

Read More Show Less

A film by Felix Nuhr.

Thailand has a total population of 5,000 elephants. But of that number, 3,000 live in captivity, carrying tourists on their backs and offering photo opportunities made for social media.

Read More Show Less
Scientists have found a way to use bricks as batteries, meaning that buildings may one day be used to store and generate power. Public Domain Pictures

One of the challenges of renewable power is how to store clean energy from the sun, wind and geothermal sources. Now, a new study and advances in nanotechnology have found a method that may relieve the burden on supercapacitor storage. This method turns bricks into batteries, meaning that buildings themselves may one day be used to store and generate power, Science Times reported.

Bricks are a preferred building tool for their durability and resilience against heat and frost since they do not shrink, expand or warp in a way that compromises infrastructure. They are also reusable. What was unknown, until now, is that they can be altered to store electrical energy, according to a new study published in Nature Communications.

The scientists behind the study figured out a way to modify bricks in order to use their iconic red hue, which comes from hematite, an iron oxide, to store enough electricity to power devices, Gizmodo reported. To do that, the researchers filled bricks' pores with a nanofiber made from a conducting plastic that can store an electrical charge.

The first bricks they modified stored enough of a charge to power a small light. They can be charged in just 13 minutes and hold 10,000 charges, but the challenge is getting them to hold a much larger charge, making the technology a distant proposition.

If the capacity can be increased, researchers believe bricks can be used as a cheap alternative to lithium ion batteries — the same batteries used in laptops, phones and tablets.

The first power bricks are only one percent of a lithium-ion battery, but storage capacity can be increased tenfold by adding materials like metal oxides, Julio D'Arcy, a researcher at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, who contributed to the paper and was part of the research team, told The Guardian. But only when the storage capacity is scaled up would bricks become commercially viable.

"A solar cell on the roof of your house has to store electricity somewhere and typically we use batteries," D'Arcy told The Guardian. "What we have done is provide a new 'food-for-thought' option, but we're not there yet.

"If [that can happen], this technology is way cheaper than lithium ion batteries," D'Arcy added. "It would be a different world and you would not hear the words 'lithium ion battery' again."

Aerial view of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Gamboa, Panama, where a new soil study was held, on Sept. 11, 2019. LUIS ACOSTA / AFP via Getty Images

One of the concerns about a warming planet is the feedback loop that will emerge. That is, as the planet warms, it will melt permafrost, which will release trapped carbon and lead to more warming and more melting. Now, a new study has shown that the feedback loop won't only happen in the nether regions of the north and south, but in the tropics as well, according to a new paper in Nature.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods speaks during a press conference after a shooting at Forest High School on April 20, 2018 in Ocala, Florida. Gerardo Mora / Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

A sheriff in Florida is under fire for deciding Tuesday to ban his deputies from wearing face masks while on the job—ignoring the advice of public health experts about the safety measures that everyone should take during the coronavirus pandemic as well as the rising Covid-19 death toll in his county and state.

Read More Show Less