Cities with most air pollution revealed

(CNN)Rough day at work? Step outside and take a deep breath — err, maybe not, depending on what city you’re in.

If you’re in Los Angeles, you’ll probably want to step back inside the office. The sprawling California city is among the worst air pollution offenders in the United States, according to the American Lung Association.
Just before Earth Day, the association released its 2016 State of Air report. The findings reveal more than 50% of Americans live in areas with unhealthy levels of particle pollution, tiny solid and liquid particles floating around the air we breath, or ozone pollution, harmful gases that react to sunlight.

 

Hope is not totally lost. Although Los Angeles is notorious for its terrible air quality, the ozone pollution levels are improving.
“Los Angeles reported its best air quality for fewer ozone and particle days,” Billings said. “That means the Clean Air Act is working.”
Stricter environmental standards, newer cars on roadways and cleaning up emissions at the port are some of the contributing factors helping Los Angeles cleaning up its air.
In 2015, the EPA revised its ozone and particle pollution levels, making its standards stricter. But the standards don’t go far enough, Thurston said, explaining that the report shows some cities meeting minimal air quality standards.
“Think of something like driving. If the speed limit is 65, and you are driving 65 mph, then you are within the law. But if you drove at 55 mph, you might be safer and get better gas mileage,” he said. “I would say we can do better, and we shouldn’t just sit back and meet the minimal standard.”

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ALA’s report included cities with some of the best air quality, too. These places include Burlington, Vermont; Honolulu, Hawaii; and Salinas, California.
There are also ways that people can limit their exposure to air pollution, such as exercising indoors and reducing personal vehicle usage. And it’s important to be aware of air pollution, Thurston said.
“You don’t have a choice in the air you breath. We are all breathing this together, even the 1%. It is something that we all share,” he said.
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Cities with most air pollution revealed