According to a report done by the American Lung Association, over 141.1 million Americans live in counties where there are unhealthy levels of air pollution. To put that number into perspective, more than 4 in every 10 Americans live in an area with unhealthy air quality.
It may come as no surprise that air pollution is a huge problem in California, whose cities are known for its smog. But the New York tri-state area is considered “industry heavy,” which puts it smack dab in the middle of a pollution hot zone. A new report from 247wallst.com shows that both Philadelphia and New York City rank in the top 10 metro areas with the worst air pollution. Philly ranks at 8, whereas the Big Apple takes the 3 spot on the list.
To identify the 25 most polluted U.S. cities, the group reviewed the metropolitan areas with the highest levels of ozone pollution, measured in days in a year when the concentration of ozone, or smog, exceeds the Environmental Protection Agency’s standard from the American Lung Association’s “State of the Air 2019” report. Here’s a list ranking the top 10 metro areas with the worst air pollution:
1. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA
2. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA
3. New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ
4. Visalia-Porterville, CA
5. Bakersfield, CA
6. Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade, CA
7. Fresno, CA
8. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE
9. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX
10. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
Air pollution can affect everyone from the healthiest athlete to the elderly. No one is spared from its detrimental effects. However, some folks are more susceptible to its effects than others, and according to sparetheair.com, those people include: “individuals with heart disease, coronary artery disease or congestive heart failure, individuals with lung diseases such as asthma, emphysema or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pregnant women, outdoor workers, older adults and the elderly, children under age 14 and Athletes who exercise vigorously outdoors.”
Some health risks of exposure to air pollution can cause cardiovascular and respiratory illness, lung damage, wheezing/coughing, chest pain, dry throat, headaches, nausea, irritation of eyes, nose, throat and more.
Although people may not be able to fully protect themselves from air pollution, here are a few simple ways to help protect yourself from unhealthy air according to the American Lung Association: check your air pollution forecasts, avoid exercising in a high traffic area, don’t burn wood or trash and use public transportation.