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Well, Duh: L.A. Has Some of the Dirtiest Air in America

Photo by jimmay bones via the LAist Featured Photos pool
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For yet another year, Los Angeles has been named by the American Lung Association as one of the cities with some of the dirtiest air in America.

The just-released annual State of the Air report indicates that Californians are still waiting to exhale:

More than 90 percent of Californians still live in counties plagued with unhealthy air, particularly in the Central Valley, Los Angeles, Inland Empire, Sacramento, and San Diego. That means more people are at risk for asthma attacks, heart attacks, and premature death. California cities once again dominate lists for the top ten most polluted areas in the nation for ozone (smog) and short-term and annual particle pollution.

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Via the ALA
That's a lot of bad news--and bad air--to take in. But it's not all dismal, despite L.A. ranking at number one in the nation when it comes to ozone pollution. California's progressive air quality policies are doing us some good, says the ALA.

The Los Angeles region shows particularly noteworthy success in reducing particle pollution over the years of the State of the Air report. Annual levels of particle pollution have dropped by over 40% throughout the region and the number of days for short-term particle pollution has dropped by 53% since the State of the Air report began collecting this data, with some annual fluctuations.

The ALA also has air quality report cards for all of the states. Alas, California's is clogged with F's, making it not exactly a report card you want to hang on your fridge door.

What can we do to make things better? The ALA seems to lean towards a partnership of policy and personal action. Some advice from ALA President and CEO Jane Warner:

“California must continue to demonstrate leadership by stepping up efforts to achieve clean and healthy air for all residents. This can be done by supporting implementation of state clean car, clean fuel and diesel regulations, redesigning our communities to reduce vehicle trips, and bringing more renewable energy to the state such as solar and wind power. We also urge all Californians to show strong support for the Clean Air Act and to make an effort to reduce air pollution in their communities by driving less, using cleaner transportation options like hybrid and electric vehicles, recycling, avoiding wood burning, and using energy efficient appliances.”

Here's some of the ALA's infographic connected to their report: