The report found that although continued improvement in air quality across the nation has occurred, nearly four in ten Americans - roughly 125 million - live in counties where ozone or particle pollution in the air is at unhealthy levels. The consequences of this are increased risks of developing lung cancer, heart disease, asthma, premature death, and developmental and reproductive harm.
Photo credit: California EPA
Bakersfield, in particular, has particularly nasty air, earning the distinction of having the number one worst short-term particle pollution (24-hour PM2.5) and the second worst ozone and long-term particle pollution (annual PM2.5).
The report demonstrates that in much of the country, the Clean Air Act has successfully reduced air pollution over the last 50 years. However, as noted by Harold P. Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association, the report "...adds to the evidence that the ongoing changes in our climate make it harder to protect human health. As we move into an ever warmer climate, cleaning up these pollutants will become ever more challenging, highlighting the critical importance of protecting the Clean Air Act."
The Full report may be accessed here: Annual State of the Air 2017
The summary of the most polluted cities may be seen below:
Top 10 U.S. Cities Most Polluted by Short-Term Particle Pollution (24-hour PM2.5):