Once again, California cities occupy the top five spots in terms of having the nation’s sootiest and smoggiest air, according to the American Lung Association (ALA) as detailed in its “State of the Air 2015” report.
For daily PM 2.5 (fine particulate matter less than 2.5 micrometers across), the number 1 through 5 spots are: Fresno-Madera; Bakersfield; Visalia-Porterville-Hanford; Modesto-Merced; and Los Angeles-Long Beach, the association found. It was the same cities again in the same order regarding worst to fifth worst annual PM 2.5 data. Meanwhile, communities ranked worst through fifth worst for ozone, according to the ALA are: Los Angeles-Long Beach; Visalia-Porterville-Hanford; Bakersfield; Fresno-Madera; and Sacramento-Roseville.
In its “Millions of Americans Breathing Unhealthy, Polluted Air Finds American Lung Association’s 2015 ‘State of the Air’ Report: Strong Improvements for Many Cities, Others Suffer Worst Air Quality Episodes” press release, the association expressed:
“Six cities had a record number of days with dangerous levels of particle pollution, while many others had more than in the 2014 report, which covered 2010 to 2012.
“Ozone was mixed, with many cities – particularly in California – doing better than in the 2014 report, but many having more unhealthy ozone days.”
All across the U.S. unhealthful air quality levels impact over 138 million people – or more than four in 10.
“The 16th annual national report card shows that improvement in the nation’s air quality was mixed, with many cities experiencing strong improvements, while others suffered increased episodes of unhealthy air, and a few even marked their worst number of unhealthy days,” the ALA reported in the release.
This year’s report reflects data collected for years 2011, 2012 and 2013. “The impact of climate change is particularly apparent in the western United States, where heat and drought create situations ripe for episodes of high particle pollution, a pollutant recently found to cause lung cancer.”
Sources of toxic air pollution range from energy, industry and transportation to agriculture, construction and residential wood-burning and miscellaneous others like lightning strikes and volcanic eruptions.
In no uncertain terms the association is calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to revise its current ozone health standard, urging that it be made more protective of human health, information in the release in question indicated.
The release of this year’s American Lung Association’s “State of the Air” report coincidentally comes on the third day of Air Quality Awareness Week 2015 in America.
There is more on the “State of the Air 2015” report here.