Los Angeles, 6 other California cities top 'most polluted' list

The Lolo Peak fire helped create unhealthy air quality in Lolo Florence and Missoula after it was ignited by lightning last July 15

The Lolo Peak fire helped create unhealthy air quality in Lolo Florence and Missoula after it was ignited by lightning last July 15

Westchester County has failed its standards 19 times.

While Wilmington is improving its particle pollution annual averages, Alexander said any level of pollution could be a cause of concern. That puts the county third highest among the 25 counties that the Lung Association had data for.

That assessment comes from the American Lung Association's newly released 2018 "State of the Air" report, which details air pollution around the nation from 2014 to 2016 and found that more than four in 10 Americans live with unhealthy air. "We still have a long way to go before putting this up on the fridge, but the trend is moving in the right direction".

The 2018 report saw ozone pollution rise in many counties, like Richmond County.

Ozone pollution - commonly known as smog - sits at the heart of America's worsening air pollution problem. New Jersey's ozone pollution grades are worse compared to last year's report. Sunlight and heat accelerate this reaction, causing ozone pollution to be worst on hot, sunny summer days when light wind allows such ozone to concentrate.

Together these five counties represent more than 43,000 children with pediatric asthma, 152,000 adults with asthma, 85,000 adults with COPD and 1,200 people with lung cancer.

The report did cite climate change as a factor statewide for rising levels of ozone pollution that stems from vehicle emissions. WAMC's Capital Region Bureau Chief Dave Lucas has details on how the Northeast fared.

Ozone naturally shields the planet from the sun's ultraviolet rays when it is high in the atmosphere. Also, the closure of New Jersey coal power plants and the phasing out of old diesel engines have been important in cutting back the Garden State's air particle pollution, he added.

"California has particularly struggled because of the topography - the bowl in the middle and the mountains there on the right-hand side of the state", Nolen said.

This has actually moved it up the list as previous year it ranked as eighth.

In the air quality report card, the San Francisco Bay Area, including San Joaquin County, ranked 13th nationally for ozone pollution, sixth worst for short-term particle pollution and tied for 10th for year-round particle pollution.

The Hudson Valley contains some of the most polluted air in all of New York State.

Agriculture also contributes to ozone increase as more and more pesticides containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are used.

"Air pollution takes a huge personal toll worldwide, making it hard to breathe for those with respiratory disease, sending the young and old to hospital, missing school and work, and contributing to early death" said Bob O'Keefe, Vice President of HEI. Los Angeles has maintained its spot at the top of the list for "nearly the entire history of the report", according to the association; however the city is taking steps to save its air quality reputation. "So, I think what it shows us is that there is work to be done to improve our air quality here in Boise".

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