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Los Angeles Tops The List Of Most Polluted Cities In The Nation, Again

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While it may come as no surprise to weathered Angelenos, L.A. was again ranked as having the worst air pollution in the country, topping the list for the third year in a row.Today, the American Lung Association released the annual "State of the Air" report, which found that Los Angeles gets a whopping "F" grade for having the worst harmful ozone pollution from vehicle tailpipe emissions, according to the L.A. Times. The report, which uses data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the three years leading up to 2014, lumps together Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange counties as the "Los Angeles metropolitan area" for the purposes of analysis.

The good news—and there is some—is that the report found that the L.A. metro area received the best overall air quality score for all the years since the report was first issued in 2004. Hooray! Another recent report found that the improved air quality in Southern California was linked to significantly fewer respiratory problems for kids in the region. That said, it still seems there are way too many preschools located dangerously close to freeways around L.A., exposing children to high levels of vehicle exhaust. And a recent dramatic change-up in leadership at the South Coast Air Quality Management District looks to have led to looser air-quality regulations for major polluters across SoCal.

Meanwhile our neighbors to the north in Bakersfield won the prize for having the most unhealthy days due to airborne particles produced by highway traffic, farm equipment, diesel trucks and fireplaces. The study also found that eight out of ten Californians, which amounts to about 32 million people, are living in counties where there are unhealthy levels of ozone or particle pollution for at least some of the year, the Times points out. Further north, however, Salinas was found to be the only California community to have no days of unhealthy air quality during the period, which the ALA partly attributes to coastal breezes that keep the air moving.

"California is making tremendous progress," Bonnie Holmes-Gen, senior director of air quality and climate change at the ALA in California, told the Times. “But we have a lot more work to do.”