Report: Southern California's Air Some of the Worst in U.S.

Despite progress, Southern California's air remains home to some of the worst air in the United States, the American Lung Association said Tuesday in its annual State of the Air report.

By Jim Steinberg 

San Bernardino County Sun, Calif.

Despite progress, Southern California's air remains home to some of the worst air in the United States, the American Lung Association said Tuesday in its annual State of the Air report. The Los Angeles-Long Beach area ranked no. 1 as the most ozone-polluted in the United States and fifth for year-round particle pollution, the report said.

The report raised the specter of drought and climate change as threatening gains since the report began 16 years ago.

"Los Angeles remains as the metropolitan area (nationwide) with the worst ozone pollution, as it has for all but one of the 16 reports, although it reported its lowest average year-round particles and fewest high ozone days in the report's history," said Janice Nolan, assistant vice president, National Policy and Advocacy, American Lung Association.

The report found that more than 70 percent of Californians -- more than 28 million residents live in counties affected by unhealthy air.

The Lung Association gives a letter grade report card to every county in the nation.

Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Orange, Riverside and Ventura all received grades of "F" for ozone days, while Ventura County received a "B" for particulates and San Bernardino County received "D".

Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside counties received grades of "F" for particulate matters.

"Californians innovative air pollution reduction strategies and clean air grant programs are curbing harmful ozone pollution and helping to control diesel land wood smoke particles," said Bonnie Holmes-Gen, senior director, air quality and climate change, American Lung Association in California.

"Intensifying droughts, wildfire risks, prolonged heat events and other climate impacts will increasingly threaten decades of clean air progress," Holmes-Gen said.

"California's ongoing drought conditions added to the burdens faced due to unhealthy air, and especially in terms of particle pollution in the most recent report period, covering 2011-2013 data," the report said.

Dr. Edward Curry, a pediatrician at Kaiser Permanente in Fontana, said that worsening air due to climate change will likely mean not only higher incidents of asthma cases, and other respiratory conditions, but more cases of increased severity.

The Lung Association says that despite challenges of drought and climate change, pollution gains can continue with increased investment to support:

--Zero emission vehicles and fuels

--Sustainable zero emission freight systems.

--Healthy community planning to increase walk, bike and transit access.

--Maintain and enhance-wood burning controls.


(c)2015 the San Bernardino County Sun (San Bernardino, Calif.)

Visit the San Bernardino County Sun (San Bernardino, Calif.) at

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Download Center

  • Your Guide to Environmental Metrics that Drive Performance

    Translating sustainability into action starts with implementing the right metrics to assess your environmental risk and performance. Learn how to design metrics that improve your decision-making process and drive enterprise performance.

  • Unpacking ESG: 6 Questions You Were Too Afraid to Ask

    Environmental and Sustainability experts from Arcadis and Cority answer 6 of the most pressing questions EHS professionals have about getting started with Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) reporting.

  • 5 Keys to Best-in-Class Chemical Management

    Running a safe chemical program is challenging and complex: from knowing what's on-site to proper handling and disposal - all while navigating regulatory changes. Learn the best ways to mitigate chemical risk, get the most value out of your data, and gain buy-in for a chemical management solution.

  • Streamline Your Air Emissions Management

    See how consolidating all your emissions management functions into one centralized system can help you streamline your operations, more easily maintain compliance, and achieve greater time and cost savings.

  • A Crash Course in Creating the Right Environmental Scoring System

    Learn how to develop the right environmental scoring system so you can easily benchmark performance across all your facilities and gain a holistic view of your environmental programs.

  • Industry Safe