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Survey: New Jersey Among Worst States For Air Quality; Suffolk Ranks Last In NY

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - The American Lung Association is out with its "State of the Air" survey, which grades every county in the nation on its air quality and ozone levels.

The survey found that grades have improved in Bergen, Morris and Passaic Counties in North Jersey, each with fewer high soot level days.

But the state remains among the nation's worst for pollution. Every New Jersey county in the survey got a grade of D or F for high ozone levels.

Across the Hudson, Queens and Staten Island got failing grades for ozone, or smog, as well. The Bronx received a D for soot.

"But on the good side it's been improving. There was a time that we were getting F's every single year in the Bronx," Michael Seilback with the American Lung Association New York Region told WCBS 880's Levon Putney. "Queens was the only county in New York which got a worse grade this year than it did last year when it comes to ozone pollution."

Survey: New Jersey Among Worst States For Air Quality; Suffolk Ranks Last In NY

The study covered air pollution from 2009 to 2011. Seilback said there are changes that New York City could make to improve air quality.

"We need more of the cleaner, greener taxis," Seilback said. "We need to make sure we have enforcement so that we don't see cars and trucks double-parked and idling for hours."

LINK: ALA Air Quality Survey Results

"We need to make sure that the next mayor is committed to improving our air quality," he added.

But the county in New York that scored the lowest is outside the city.

"Strangely enough, the worst pollution in all of New York State when it comes to ozone is out in Suffolk County," Seilback told Putney.

He said factories and Long Island Expressway traffic do not get all the blame.

"It's a combination of locally produced pollution and pollution that travels," Seilback said.

In Connecticut, the survey shows just one of the state's eight counties received a grade of C, the highest grade in the state.

The survey found 42 percent of the nation's population live in counties that have unhealthy levels of either ozone or particle pollution.

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