Colorado’s air quality is getting worse with growing population, new report says

Colorado’s air quality is getting worse with growing population, new report says

Particle pollution is often called soot, while ground level ozone is often called smog, explained Janice Nolen, assistant vice president of national policy for the American Lung Association.

More than 4 in 10 Americans - approximately 43.3 percent of the population - live in counties that have unhealthy ozone and/or particle pollution, the report states, and more than 141 million people are exposed to unhealthy air. After several years of improvement, the seven-county Denver metro area saw an increase in the number of high-ozone days during that period, putting hundreds of thousands of residents at greater risk of negative health effects. Only six qualify as "cleanest", meaning they have no high ozone or high-particle-pollution days and rank among the 25 cities with the lowest year-round particle pollution. "It's still unsafe. We're still seeing very high days with ozone and particle pollution".

Arizona's capital city ranks seventh for dirtiest air among American cities when it comes to ozone, according to the American Lung Association's annual State of the Air report for 2018, which was released Tuesday. Los Angeles-Long Beach topped the list, while the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland area came in eighth.

The ALA measured ozone pollution by using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Air Quality Index.

Climate change is likely to make ozone pollution worse in the future, by making the hot temperatures necessary to create smog more common. Dukes, Plymouth, Suffolk, and Worcester counties all received C's and D's, lower grades than a year ago. St. George, meanwhile, lands on the list of cities with the cleanest air. The sunny, warm climate doesn't help and neither do the pollution-generating activities of the 33 million people living there.

But with the Trump administration's plan to slash the EPA's budget by a third, the American Lung Association worries that things could plateau, or even get worse.

Every year the association looks at data from federal air monitors in 900 counties.

The report cites vehicle transportation and wildfires as two of the biggest sources of air pollution in general.

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