The American Lung Association (ALA) tracks government air quality data in all 50 states and has been issuing an annual report since 2000. Here are some highlights from the ALA’s latest annual “State of the Air” report.
Over 40% of Americans—more than 137 million people—live in areas with failing grades for unhealthy levels of ozone or particle pollution.
This means that 2.1 million more people are breathing unhealthy air compared with last year’s report.
Almost 9 million more people were affected by daily spikes in deadly particle pollution than last year.
Ninety-six counties in 15 states received failing grades for short-term particle pollution. Eighty-six of those counties were in 11 western states.
Historically, ALA found that urban, industrialized eastern and midwestern states, like New Jersey, New York and Ohio, which in 2007 collectively had 21 counties on the list, had serious air quality issues. Now, these states are getting passing grades.
In 2022, Fresno, California, replaced Fairbanks, Alaska, as the US metro area with the worst short-term particle pollution.
Los Angeles remained the worst US city for ozone pollution.