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LA Ranks Number One For Dirty Air

The recently released State of the Air report ranks Los Angeles as the nation's dirtiest city, a spot that LA has unfortunately held for a decade.

The report, commissioned by the American Heart and Lung association, found that 186.1 million people, more than half the US population, live and breathe in areas with dangerously high levels of air pollution. The rest of California did not fare so well either; the report found that the number of estimated premature deaths due to poor air quality, particulate matter specifically, has tripled. It is not surprising that three other metropolitan areas in California — Bakersfield, Visalia-Porterville, Fresno-Madera — rank among the nation's dirtiest.

To see the American cities that have the cleanest air,


Made famous by the Cohen brothers movie, Fargo, North Dakota should also be famous for its great air quality. It is the only city to pass all three air pollution tests: ozone pollution, year-round particle pollution, and short-term (24-hour) particle pollution. Other cities to rank high in at least two out of the three tests are: Billings, MT; Cheyenne, WY; Colorado Springs, CO; and Honolulu, HI. You can check the state of your state's air quality at the State of the Air web site. How did your state rank?


Join The Conversation
Soniabonya Soniabonya 8 years
I'm not surprised about L.A. Everytime I drive through I just see the smog and it makes me ill. Was one of the reasons I opted out of going to college there. I'm not surprised about the Bakersfield area either. I heard there are a lot of plants producing pollution there and winds bring pollution from LA to the valley. I know of a town called Arvin in CA that has a very high pollution problem because of agricultural vehicles, airflows from both LA and San Francisco area etc and it all cumulates into the small bowl the town is in. Poor CA. We have such a beautiful state but some of the area's are just so dirty because of human actions.
esweet esweet 8 years
I"m surprised that Boston got Fs in everything - although I guess most major cities will??
PiNkY-PiNk PiNkY-PiNk 8 years
I know oc is pretty bad too but as you're driving on the 5 fwy to la from oc, you can see very clearly when you've crossed the county line.
michlny michlny 8 years
NYC got an F :(
earthgoddess earthgoddess 8 years
I'm actually not surprised that LA ranked the worst in air quality! I was interested to find out that most of the counties in California (that were surveyed, anyway) received an F. These included many rural counties, while almost the entire bay area received A's!
Triste3030 Triste3030 8 years
I'm born and raised in Los Angeles and it wasn't until I went up to Northern California where the Redwoods grow that I realized our air quality was terrible. I still love L.A.- there's no place like it!
lightpollution lightpollution 8 years
ah los angeles... my home. I love it. smog and all.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 8 years
I'm not surprised.
Teyocoyani Teyocoyani 8 years
My hubby and I live here because of school and we literally live a parking garage away from a major highway (the 405) because we live in family student housing...Since we've been here (July 08), I've had one episode of bronchitis and my husband has had two asthmatic episodes...waahh..
jessie jessie 8 years
pretty neat chart...the county where i live in got b''s then a c. interesting
soapbox soapbox 8 years
And naturally, NJ in general has terrible air. Years ago, they said that we had the highest cancer rate than any other state. I bet anything it has to do with our terrible water and air.
wackdoodle wackdoodle 8 years
LA has always had poor air quality. The poor air quality/dirty air was in the basin well before cars and industry settled in LA. It has to do with the shape of the basin and the fact that most of Southern California is actually a desert but LA butts up to the ocean keeping bad air in the basin. Early photos show that LA County has always been dirty.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
Hmmm...I was surprised to find out that the county where I live gets an "F" for air quality; probably from all the paper mills/manufacturing companies near us. All of the northern and rural counties got "A" ratings, which is probably because of all the trees. Trees are great for removing particulate matter from the air.
itsme3683 itsme3683 8 years
I read somewhere that you are more likely to die from pollution in LA than you are to die in a traffic accident, which is insane to me!
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
I used to have to use an inhaler when I lived in LA, and flying out, what I thought were storm clouds turned out to be plain old smog. Disgusting.
joghog joghog 8 years
I live about 2 hours from both Bakersfield and LA (on the coast) and when I go to either of these cities, you can see a grey cloud hanging above them.... actually all of San Joaquin Valley is really gross.
graylen graylen 8 years
If you live in LA, you can see the crap in the air. It's kinda disgusting and my sinuses certainly agree!
gothamgal gothamgal 8 years
It's ironic b/c L.A. is known for being a healthy city, no? At least that's what I thought.
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