Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

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

An Edith's Checkerspot butterfly in Los Padres National Forest in Southern California. Patricia Marroquin / Moment / Getty Images

Butterflies across the U.S. West are disappearing, and now researchers say the climate crisis is largely to blame.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A wildfire burns in the Hollywood hills on July 19, 2016 in Hollywood, California. AaronP / Bauer-Griffin / GC Images

California faces another "critically dry year" according to state officials, and a destructive wildfire season looms on its horizon. But in a state that welcomes innovation, water efficacy approaches and drought management could replenish California, increasingly threatened by the climate's new extremes.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Wisdom is seen with her chick in Feb. 2021 at the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. Jon Brack / Friends of Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge / Flickr / CC 2.0

Wisdom the mōlī, or Laysan albatross, is the oldest wild bird known to science at the age of at least 70. She is also, as of February 1, a new mother.

Read More Show Less
Wind turbines in Norway. piola66 / E+ / Getty Images

By Hui Hu

Winter is supposed to be the best season for wind power – the winds are stronger, and since air density increases as the temperature drops, more force is pushing on the blades. But winter also comes with a problem: freezing weather.

Read More Show Less
Jaffa Port in Israel. theDOCK innovated the Israeli maritime space and kickstarted a boom in new technologies. Pixabay

While traditional investment in the ocean technology sector has been tentative, growth in Israeli maritime innovations has been exponential in the last few years, and environmental concern has come to the forefront.

Read More Show Less