The Street: U.S. Cities With the Worst Air Pollution

A recent article from The Street examines how American cities stack up when it comes to air pollution, and the results are not pretty. Seven of the 10 cities with poorest air quality are all in California.

Results like these underscore the importance of our efforts at the Healthy Air Alliance. As the article highlights, California has made significant strides in improving air quality, but efforts to roll back these standards and regulations threaten any future progress.

From San Diego to Sacramento, Californians should expect and demand better from our leaders and industry. The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the inextricable connection between air quality and health. It’s time that our leaders recognize this and take action to ensure clean air for Californians across the state.

Below is a preview of The Street’s article. To view the full article and a full list of metro areas with the worst air pollution, click here.

Thanks to about 4,000 air quality monitors installed around the country since those smoggy days of 1970, we can measure and monitor the ozone pollution, and the year-round and short-term particle pollution in our air — the stuff that’s getting into your lungs. According to the American Lung Association’s State of the Air 2020 report, 150 million people live in counties that received an F for either ozone or particle pollution. Breathing ozone irritates the lungs, resulting in something like a bad sunburn within the lungs, the report says, and breathing particle pollution can increase the risk of lung cancer, lead to early death and heart attacks, strokes and emergency room visits for people with asthma and cardiovascular disease. And, according to the Centers for Disease Control, people with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma are at greater risk of severe illness related to COVID-19.

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