These 10 U.S. Cities Have The Worst Air Quality

These 10 U.S. Cities Have The Worst Air Quality

During the time of COVID-19, a serious respiratory illness caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the last thing people need is to breathe in unhealthy air. As of April 2020, roughly 150 million Americans breathed unhealthy air in their own cities. Unfortunately, air quality in the U.S. has gone downhill in many regions, and the most likely culprit is climate change.

In case you haven’t noticed, it has been getting hotter and hotter with each passing year. Wildfires across the nation occurred because of unusually dry conditions. The excessive heat contributes to the formation of ozone pollution, and the fires cause particle matter pollution. Some cities have higher rates of ozone pollution, while others have higher rates of particle pollution.  

The 2019 State Of The Air Report

2019 State of the Air report, published on April 24th, 2019, examined nationwide air pollution during the three-year period of 2015 through 2017. According to the data, those three years were the hottest years ever recorded on Planet Earth. The report included spikes in particle pollution and ozone pollution, exposing an additional 7.2 million people to unhealthy air from the previous report of 2013 to 2015.

The 2020 State Of The Air Report

Documenting the years of 2016, 2017, and 2018, the 2020 State of the Air report found an increase in high days of ozone and short-term particle pollution, when compared to the 2019 State of the Air report. Far too many communities experience respiratory setbacks as a result of poor air quality. 2020 is the 50th anniversary of the Clean Air Act, yet people don’t seem to take air quality and our impact on the environment seriously. Soot levels rose to record highs and ground-level ozone (also known as smog) reached unhealthy levels from 2016 to 2018. Unfortunately for millions of Americans, the 2020 report marks the fourth year in a row that air quality has declined and threatened more people’s health.

10 Worst Cities By Ozone

  1. Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA
  2. Visalia, CA
  3. Bakersfield, CA
  4. Fresno-Madera-Hanford, CA
  5. Sacramento-Roseville, CA
  6. San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, CA
  7. Phoenix-Mesa, AZ
  8. San Jose-San Francisco, CA
  9. Las Vegas-Henderson, NV
  10. Denver-Aurora, CO

In case you didn’t notice, California’s metro areas dominate that list. The reason for this is because of the state’s topography and giant populations.

10 Worst Cities By Year-Round Particle Pollution

  1. Bakersfield, CA
  2. Fresno-Madera-Hanford, CA
  3. Visalia, CA
  4. Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA
  5. San Jose-San Francisco, CA
  6. Fairbanks, AK
  7. Phoenix-Mesa, AZ
  8. Pittsburg-New Castle-Wirton, PA-OH-WV
  9. El Centro, CA
  10. Detroit-Warren-Ann Arbor, MI

What Is Particle Pollution?

This type of pollution refers to tiny liquid or solid particles that exist in the air. You can’t see these particles because they are incredibly small, but you’ll notice that the air appears opaque if too many of these particles are present. Living in an area with horrible particle pollution can worsen your respiratory health.

What Is Ozone Pollution?

Depending on where it is in the atmosphere, ozone is labeled good or bad. For instance, stratospheric ozone protects living things on the planet from ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Ozone becomes dangerous to your health when too much ground-level ozone is present in the air. Cities with high rates of ground-level ozone can negatively affect the health of the elderly, children, or people with respiratory conditions.

As we continue to battle COVID-19, monitor the air quality or air pollution in your city. Do what you can for the environment and focus on inhaling clean, healthy air.

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