Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
Health | By Constance Griffith

Bay Area in Top 10 for Worst Air Pollution Nationwide

Bay Area in Top 10 for Worst Air Pollution Nationwide

Los Angeles, California continued to be the worst city in the country for ozone, and nearby Bakersfield, California the worst for particles.

"Unfortunately, still some difficulty with New Castle County", said Stewart.

The entire Bay Area ranked among the most polluted areas in the region.

That's according to the American Lung Association's State of the Air 2017 report.

Billings also stated most regions of the United States enjoy better air quality than existed a decade ago but added a multitude of metropolitan areas are still experiencing their highest of unhealthy air pollution days since the report first began publishing 18 years ago.

Bakersfield, California, once again topped the list of having the most days of highly polluted air in the years covered in the report, 2013 to 2015.

"We need them to make sure that they are taking steps to recognize that air pollution can be a problem and they may contribute to it".

Napa averaged just one day annually during that period when it exceeded air quality standards for ozone or smog and one day for particle pollution, said Jenny Bard, a spokeperson for the Association's California chapter.

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Santa Barbara County received an "F" for its ozone grade, but got an "A" in the short-term particle pollution category, and passed for annual particle pollution. Cuyahoga County had three days of soot readings at concentrations considered unhealthy for sensitive groups.

Despite these improvements, many cities hit their highest average number of days when particle levels spiked.

Ken Fletcher from the American Lung Association says overall, Allen County has seen drastic improvements in their ozone grade levels. "We must also clean up wood-burning devices and ensure there is adequate funding for states to monitor air pollution". "Climate change poses many threats to human health, including worsened air quality and extreme weather events".

The 2017 report finds continued improvements in air quality, but says 125 million Americans - almost 4 out of 10 people - still "live in counties with unhealthful levels of either ozone or particle pollution". These particles are so small that they can lodge deep in the lungs and trigger asthma attacks, heart attacks and strokes.

The study looked at ozone - or smog - levels as well as particle pollution from a range of sources, including soot, smoke, pollen and molds, Boucher said.

However, according to the American Lung Association, for data collected from 2013-2015, SLO County received an "F" grade for ozone.

But healthy air protections are under attack, and must be defended to save lives here and across the country. Since last year's release, the number of people nationwide who were exposed to unhealthy air at some point dropped from 166 million to 125 million.

In Trump's budget proposal, the agency's budget will be cut by 31% that would include weakening or eliminating the Clean Air Act, which, according to the report, it has been the most important tool in the fight for healthy air by driving emission reductions for more than 47 years.

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