This morning, the American Lung Association released State of the Air 2014, an annual report on air quality which lists both the cleanest and most polluted areas in the country. This year's report shows significant progress in efforts to reduce ozone and particulate pollution in the Sacramento region, yet air pollution continues to threaten the health of millions of residents.
To check the air quality in your county, log onto www.stateoftheair.org/2014
The findings reinforce the importance of local and state clean air laws and initiatives that help reduce car, truck and bus emissions, promote cleaner alternative vehicles and fuels, follow smart growth strategies, and cut wood smoke emissions to protect public health.
"The State of the Air 2014 report shows that California's clean air laws and initiatives are working," said Stephen Maxwell, MD, a thoracic surgeon and leadership board member of the American Lung Association in California - Sacramento office. "However, eighty percent of Californians - almost 30 million residents - live in areas plagued with unhealthy air during certain parts of the year. That means residents are at greater risk for lung cancer, asthma attacks, heart attacks, and premature deaths. We must increase our efforts to cut pollution so all Californians can breathe clean and healthy air."
The Sacramento region has shown noteworthy success in reducing both ozone and particulate pollution over the years of the State of the Air report. The dramatic success in reducing particle pollution is largely due to continued success of strong wood burning regulations. Since the 2000 report, unhealthy ozone days in the region have fallen by 41 percent and unhealthy spikes in particulate pollution days have dropped by 85 percent. This year's report shows also that all counties assessed in the region (Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, and Yolo) earned passing grades for year-round particulate pollution.
Overall, California experienced small increases in the number of ozone polluted days compared to last year's report, but had more consistent reductions in short-term particle days and lower year-round particle levels. Specifically, of the top ten cities in the nation with the worst air pollution.