Report ranks Houston among most polluted US cities


HOUSTON – Houston is ranked among the most polluted cities in the United States, according to a report released Wednesday by the American Lung Association.

In the "State of the Air 2017" report, experts used data on air quality, ozone levels and particle pollution to determine which cities had the cleanest and dirtiest air in the country.

The report ranked Houston as the 12th worst for ozone pollution out of 228 metropolitan areas, the 16th worst city for year-round particle pollution out of 186 metropolitan areas and the 49th worst for 24-hour particle pollution.

Houston has improved its ozone pollution levels since 1996, when records started to be kept. According to the report, the city had 68.4 fewer high-ozone days than last year.

Records for particle pollution levels date back to 2000, and Houston has also seen improvement there. According to the report, the city had 3.7 fewer high particle pollution days than last year, and decreased its annual pollution levels by 2.5 micrograms per cubic meter.

The most polluted cities and areas in the country are in California, according to the report. Los Angeles was ranked as the most ozone-polluted city in the U.S. A mainly rural area between Bakersfield and Fresno was ranked as the area with most year-round particle pollution. Bakersfield was ranked as the worst for short-term particle pollution.

The cleanest air in the country can be found in Bellingham, Washington; Cheyenne, Wyoming and the Albany, New York area.

The group said its report highlights the significant improvements made by the country to curb air pollution, and speaks to the importance of strengthening those efforts.

Click or tap here to view the full report.

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About the Author:

Aaron Barker has been a senior digital editor at KPRC 2 since 2016. As a meteorologist, he specializes in stories about the weather. He has covered Hurricane Harvey, the Astros first World Series win, the Santa Fe High School shooting, the ITC fire and Tropical Storm Imelda.