What is Air?
Alright, I’m dating myself … this was part of a very funny skit performed by Bill Cosby back in the day.
Seriously, though, the Washington, DC-based American Lung Association has released its “Most Polluted Cities” report for ozone and particle pollution in 277 metropolitan areas.
Louisville does better than you’d think, for once. (Warning: The actual ALA report is huge, 177 pages long.)
Louisville is ranked No. 22 on the “Short-term Particle Pollution” Top 25 list.
Particle pollution is a mixture of microscopic solids and liquid droplets in the air that can include anything from pollen to acids such as nitrates and just plain dust.
In short, the wheezy livin’ pollution.
Otherwise, we’re in pretty good shape, at least according to the report.
Although, Louisville is known for its ozone, we don’t show up on the survey’s Top 25 list of high-ozone cities.
Cincinnati, on the other hand, comes in at No. 16 on the Ozone list and No. 9 on Year-Round Particulates list.
While we don’t have the worst problems, Louisville finds itself in a particularly dusty tie for 10th in Particulates with Modesto, Calif. in the “People at Risk in 25 Cities Most Polluted by Year-round Particle Pollution” category.
Don’t feel too bad for Louisville.
The West is well represented in one of the ALA’s most convoluted tracking surveys. (I mean, does the EPA have a category for “Most Mosquito Infested Crick in a Red State” category?)
Bakersfield, California grabbed top honors in Year-Round Particle Pollution category, while L.A choked up for a three-way tie for second with Visalia-Porterville, CA and Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, AZ. Two other California cities grabbed fifth and sixth.
Here’s where the Ohio River Valley comes in: Pittsburgh-New Castle, Pennsylvania wheezed in at No. 7 with Cincinnati-Middletown-Wilmington hitting No. 9.
As the report states: “air quality in many places has improved, but 154 million people – just over one-half the nation – still suffer pollution levels that are too often dangerous to breathe.” We’re talking about people with asthma, bronchitis, emphysema and cardiovascular disease.
That’s no joke.