By: Savannah Smith | 04-19-2017 | News
Photo credit: Nikolay Kazachek |

Going Green? California earns "Dirtiest State" Infamy

California retains its smoggy reputation anew as a new report reveals that six of the country's 10 cities with the worst air pollution are located in the Golden State.

The American Lung Association's annual State of the Air report released on Wednesday based on data from 2013-2015 again "awarded" the dubious distinction of having the country's most days of highly polluted air to Bakersfield, California.

The worst overall year-round pollution was led by Visala/Hanford, again in California. The worst ozone pollution was led by the Los Angeles/Long Beach area again in California. Paul Billings of the American Lung Association said that while California has strict environmental laws, the state's soaring population and its topography contribute to its polluted condition.

The increase in population, after all, also translates to more cars and trucks on the roads every day, while many people live in valleys and basins, where the pollution tends to settle. The year- round sunny weather of California, while it makes for seemingly picture-perfect days, does not help the state's battle with pollution. Those sunny days, in fact, are a major factor in high levels of ozone pollution. Billings, however, praised California's efforts to counteract air pollution. He said that California would have been in a far worse state if not for its strict laws on tailpipe pollution and eliminating coal-fired power plants.

The State of the Air report overall is a mixture of good and bad news- year-round pollution has improved, short-term spikes of heavily polluted air have increased on the other hand.

Most of the country has much cleaner air quality compared to even a decade ago. However, many cities reported their highest number of unhealthy days since the report started 18 years ago.

Unhealthy levels of air pollution are dangerous to people's health as it puts them at risk of premature death and other serious health effects such as lung cancer, asthma attacks, cardiovascular damage and developmental and reproductive harm. An estimated 125 million of Americans nationwide live with air pollution "that's unhealthy for them to breathe."


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