Report: Sacramento 5th Most Polluted City in the U.S.

The American Lung Association has released its 20th Annual State of the Air report and things aren't looking good for Californians.

The report ranks the most polluted cities by "Ozone" (more commonly referred to as smog), "Year Round Particle Pollution" (more commonly referred to as soot) and "Short-Term Particle Pollution."

By all three measures in the report, California cities rank as the most polluted in the United States for unhealthy smog and soot days.

The Sacramento-Roseville area ranks 5th in the United States for Ozone Pollution. The area also ranks 15th on the Short-Term Particle Pollution list.

Sacramento, Redding and Chico saw increased smog averages in this year's report.

The American Lung Association says the 2019 report "highlights that decades of clean air progress is being challenged by climate change impacts. Higher temperatures and catastrophic wildfires captured in this year’s report increased ozone and particle pollution, the most widespread forms of air pollution threatening public health."

Ozone and particle pollution monitoring data collected during 2015, 2016 and 2017 were included in the report because they were "notable in their connection to climate change."

  • 2015-2017 were the three hottest years on record in the United States, which set the stage for widespread ozone increases.

  • 7 of the 20 most destructive wildfires in California history occurred in 2015-2017, including the Thomas Fire and the Wine Country fires, driving particle pollution impacts higher for millions of Californians.

The report also revealed despite decades of improvement, 90% of Californians live in areas affected by unhealthy air at some point during the year.

  • 7 of the 10 most ozone-polluted cities in the United States are in California.

  • 6 of the 10 US cities most polluted by annual particle levels are in California.

  • 4 of the 10 US cities most polluted by short-term spikes in particle pollution. 

Top Ten by Ozone (Smog)

#1: Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA
#2: Visalia, CA
#3: Bakersfield, CA
#4: Fresno-Madera-Hanford, CA
#5: Sacramento-Roseville, CA
#6: San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, CA
#7: Phoenix-Mesa, AZ
#8: San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA
#9: Houston-The Woodlands, TX
#10: New York-Newark, NY-NJ-CT-PA

Top Ten by Year Round Particle Pollution

#1: Fresno-Madera-Hanford, CA
#2: Bakersfield, CA
#3: Fairbanks, AK
#4: Visalia, CA
#5: Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA
#6: San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA
#7: Pittsburgh-New Castle-Weirton, PA-OH-WV
#8: El Centro, CA
#9: Cleveland-Akron-Canton, OH
#10: Medford-Grants Pass, OR

Top Ten by Short-Term Particle Pollution

#1: Bakersfield, CA
#2: Fresno-Madera-Hanford, CA
#3: Fairbanks, AK
#4: San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA
#5: Missoula, MT
#6: Yakima, WA
#7: Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA
#8: Salt Lake City-Provo-Orem, UT
#9: Seattle-Tacoma, WA
#10: Pittsburgh-New Castle-Weirton, PA-OH-WV

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