By Miriam Raftery
April 18, 2018 (San Diego) – San Diego County ranks an “F” on the American Lung Association’s Report Card on the state of the air you breathe. Nationwide, the city of San Diego, along with Carlsbad, also ranked the 6th worst cities in the nation for ozone pollution, out of 227 metropolitan areas studied.
Ozone causes serious lung and cardiovascular problems including asthma, pulmonary diseases, and heart attacks. Exposure to ozone is also linked to stroke and premature death.
The report looked at pollution levels from 2014 to 2016. Ozone pollution had worsened significantly over the prior report. American Lung Association President and CEO Harold Wimmer explains why ozone levels are on the rise. “Near record-setting heat from our changing climate has resulted in dangerous levels of ozone in many cities across the country, making ozone an urgent health threat for millions of Americans.”
Ozone pollution is most apt to occur on warm, sunny days when smog forms and is trapped close to the earth, made worse from chemicals in vehicle emissions and industrial air pollution.
Eight of the worst 10 cities for ozone pollution are in California. If not for California’s strict pollution laws, the problem would be even worse, health experts say.
San Diego fared far better on other forms of air pollution. Our region didn’t make the list of the two dozen worst polluted areas for year-round and short-term particle pollution. Particle pollution has dropped nationwide, though that trend is likely to be reversed soon under the Trump administration’s recently announced plan to roll back regulations under the Clean Air Act that led to those reductions in air pollution.
Based on the data in its new report, the Lung Association is urging Congress and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to end their threats to the nation’s air quality and protect American’s health.
If you’re wondering where the cleanest air in America can be found, the top cities on the list are Bellingham, Washington; Burlington, Vermont; Casper, Wyoming; Honolulu, Hawaii; Melbourne, Florida and Wilmington, North Carolina.