The Most Polluted Cities In The United States And Why They’re So Bad

When the American Lung Association released its “State of the Air 2017” report, there was underlying good news. The study found “continued improvement in air quality in 2013—2015 in ozone and year-round particle pollution.” Unfortunately, there was also “an unrelenting increase in dangerous spikes in particle pollution.”

Throughout our industrialized country, more than 167 million people are exposed daily to unhealthy levels of air pollution. Both PM2.5 (Particle Matter) and ozone are linked to a long list of health problems, including asthma, lung cancer, premature death, and developmental delays in children.

We’ve ranked the worst cities based on Ozone pollution with year-round and short-term particle pollution also highlighted. Did your city make the list?

Los Angeles, CA Is Improving But The Worst Offender

With a population of 3.976 million people, more than 1% of the US population lives in Los Angeles. The sprawling Southern California city is also the most polluted city in America based on ozone and in the top 10 worst polluted areas for particle pollution. Vehicles provide for the largest levels of pollution in this rapidly growing city, not surprising given the areas notoriously bad traffic and growing population.

Ken Lubas/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Ken Lubas/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images