How clean is the air you breathe? For the past 18 years, the American Lung Association has released an annual “State of the Air” report, using data from official air quality monitors to look at pollution levels in cities across the U.S.
The 2017 report finds continued improvements in air quality, but says 125 million Americans -- nearly 4 out of 10 people -- still “live in counties with unhealthful levels of either ozone or particle pollution.” The health risks include lung cancer, asthma attacks, and developmental problems among children, among other issues.
The American Lung Association evaluated cities for three types of air pollution: ozone (often called “smog”), year-round particle pollution, and short-term particle pollution.Particle pollution refers to the small liquid and solid particles that come from burning fossil fuel and other sources, small enough to float in the air and get inhaled into the lungs.
Here’s a look at the 16 communities with the highest year-round particulate levels -- some of the places where air pollution could pose the greatest risk to your health.