The American Lung Association is releasing a report Thursday, called, State of the Air: 2008, on the most pollution ridden cities and they have a list of categories, which for short-term particle pollution or soot, Pittsburgh overtook Los Angeles.
Pittsburgh win in the category of short-term particle pollution or soot which means that for the first time, a city outside California has been named the sootiest in the nation.
According to Janice Nolen, the association's assistant vice president of national policy and advocacy, "It's not that Pittsburgh has gotten worse; it's that Los Angeles has gotten better. If the trend continues, Pittsburgh will top two lists, and LA will only be leading the nation in ozone."
Still, Los Angeles held its own in two other categories measuring year-round soot levels and smog. And statewide, 26 of California's 52 counties with air quality monitoring stations got failing grades for having either high ozone days or particle pollution days.
A few of the findings show that the cleanest cities were Fargo, N.D., and Salinas, California. There are eight metropolitan areas that are considered to be the nation's most polluted by every measure and they are, Los Angeles, Bakersfield, Fresno, Visalia-Porterfield and Hanford-Corcoran, all in California; Washington-Baltimore; St. Louis; and Birmingham, Alabama.
Other findings show that three Bay area counties, Contra Costa, Santa Clara and San Francisco, all get an F because of high levels of soot and other fine particles on winter nights.
Linda Weiner, who is the director of air quality outreach for the American Lung Association of California, says, "When you look at these failing grades, it tells us that particle pollution is a serious health problem for the Bay Area."
The Lung Association gave Contra Costa and Alameda counties a C grade for ozone, the pungent ingredient in smog that can irritant eyes, throats and lungs. Santa Clara County received a D grade.
The report is based on air quality measurements reported to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency by state and local agencies between 2004 and 2006 and it looks at three key pollution measures.
Those are, Most Polluted by Short-Term Particle Pollution, Year-Round Particle Pollution, Most Polluted by Ozone.
The top ten cities under the "most polluted by short-term particle pollution" are: 1) Pittsburgh, Pa.; 2) Los Angeles/Long Beach/Riverside, Calif.; 3) Fresno/Madera, Calif.; 4) Bakersfield, Calif.; 5) Birmingham, Ala.; 6) Logan, Utah 7) Salt Lake City, Utah ; 8) Sacramento, Calif.; 9) Detroit, Mich.; 10) Baltimore, Md./Washington, D.C./Northern Virginia.
The top ten cities under the "most polluted by year round particle pollution" are: 1) Los Angeles/Long Beach/Riverside, Calif.; 2) Pittsburgh, Pa.; 3) Bakersfield, Calif.; 4) Birmingham, Ala.; 5) Visalia/Porterville, Calif.; 6) Atlanta, Ga.; 7) Cincinnati, Ohio; 8) Fresno/Madera, Calif. 9) Hanford/Corcoran, Calif.; 10) Detroit, Mich.
The top ten cities under the "most polluted by ozone are: 1) Los Angeles/Long Beach/Riverside, Calif.; 2) Bakersfield, Calif.; 3) Visalia/Porterville, Calif.; 4) Houston, Texas; 5) Fresno/Madera, Calif. 6) Sacramento, Calif. 7) Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas; 8) New York, N.Y./Newark, N.J.; 9) Baltimore, Md./Washington, D.C./Northern Virginia; 10) Baton Rouge, La.
Some of the key findings according to their press release are:
* One in 10 people in the U.S. live in areas with unhealthful levels of all three types of pollution: ozone, short-term and year-round particle pollution.
* Two of five people in the U.S live in counties that have unhealthful levels of either ozone or particle pollution.
* Nearly one-third of the U.S. population lives in areas with unhealthful levels of ozone.
* Over one quarter of the people in the U.S. live in an area with unhealthful short-term levels of particle pollution.
* One in six people in the U.S. live in an area with unhealthful year-round levels of particle pollution.
You can click on your state to see how it is ranked at the American Lung Association. Tips are also available on how to protect yourself and your family from air pollution.