Denver's Ozone Pollution Problem Is Getting Worse

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

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The American Lung Association's 2019 "State of the Air" report revealed that the Lincoln metropolitan area is one of the least polluted metropolitan areas in the country.

According to the report, Kern County "remained the #1 most polluted city for short-term particle levels, as it has for eight of the past 10 reports".

The nationwide report examines ozone pollution and fine particle pollution, or PM 2.5, which is best known in Utah as the cause of winter smog episodes.

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The country as a whole recorded more days with hazardous air quality than ever from 2015 to 2017, the researchers said, defined as air that reaches "emergency conditions" on the government's air quality index.

Just over half of California's 58 counties received and F grade in the American Lung Association's new report card looking at ozone and particle pollution.

That's an increase of more than seven million from last year's report.

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Los Angeles continues to rank at the top of the list for worst ozone pollution, and other California cities - including Visalia, Bakersfield and the Fresno-Madera-Hanford region - top the lists for ozone, year-round particle pollution and short-term particle pollution, partially due to droughts and wildfires in the state. "It's still risky. We're still seeing very high days with ozone and particle pollution".

"Denver residents should be aware that we're breathing unhealthy air, placing our health and lives at risk", JoAnna Strother, regional director of public policy for the Lung Association, said in a statement. "We have to keep cleaning up the air, and we have to deal with climate change first and foremost, especially after seeing the harm of what is happening now". St. George, meanwhile, lands on the list of cities with the cleanest air.

Lehigh County got a D for ozone; its particle results were incomplete. Beyond the Valley's problematic topography - a bowl surrounded by mountain ranges that traps pollution in - he highlighted transportation-related pollution sources, including from major highways and railways.

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The findings add "to the evidence that a changing climate is making it harder to protect human health", according to the report.

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