Merced, Valley, receives failing ‘F’ grades for polluted air

Merced, Valley, receives failing ‘F’ grades for polluted air

The report shows results of air pollution in the St. Louis area. By comparison, almost 134 million people lived in counties with unhealthy air pollution levels in 2014 to 2016, and 125 million people did so in 2013 to 2015.

The study, which used government data, found that nearly 141.1 million people were exposed to unhealthy air between 2015 and 2017, an increase from the 133.9 million people who were exposed past year.

The report lists "Fresno-Madera-Hanford" as the most polluted for year-round particle pollution.

Will Barrett, director of clean air advocacy for the American Lung Association in California, said during a Tuesday news conference that progress has been slower in the Valley than other parts of the state in addressing air pollution.

Eight city areas had recorded the highest number of days with unhealthy spikes in particle pollution since the American Lung Association started monitoring pollution this way: Fairbanks, Alaska; Missoula, Montana; Bismarck, North Dakota, Bend-Pineville, Oregon; Yakima and the Spokane-Spokane Valley-Coeur d'Alene area in Washington; and Salinas and Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, California.

More Americans are breathing air that will make them sick, according to the American Lung Association's annual State of the Air report.

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California claimed seven of the top 10 most ozone-polluted cities, with Los Angeles topping the list for the 19th time. While people like to blame agriculture for the problem, he said, it's "more of a climate change problem".

Now more than ever the US must protect the Clean Air Act, according to the report.

"Particle pollution is made of soot or tiny particles that come from coal-fired power plants, diesel emissions, wildfires and wood-burning devices".

Ozone, also called smog, essentially causes a sunburn of the lung, irritating and inflaming the lining of our lungs when we breathe it in.

The report states that California has seven of the ten most ozone polluted cities in the United States, with Los Angeles being the top (LA had almost 120 days in which ozone was above the healthy limit). Both have serious health impacts, such as increasing the risk of lung cancer, asthma attacks, cardiovascular damage, developmental and reproductive harm and even premature death.

Numerous cities with the most people at risk were located in California. Notably, the large wildfires of 2018 aren't included in this data, said Nolen, who has worked on State of the Air every year for the past 20 years.