LAS VEGAS, NV – The American Lung Association released its “State of the Air 2018” report Wednesday and, according to the data analyzed, Las Vegas is 12th most polluted city in America by smog, and 24th most polluted city by year-round particle pollution.
The “State of the Air 2018” report concluded that ozone pollution overall worsened significantly in America from 2014-2016 compared to its previous report, which looked at 2013-2015. In Las Vegas, ozone pollution improved compared to last year’s report, but the number of unhealthy days is “still too many more than are safe.”
“The 2018 ‘State of the Air’ report finds that unhealthful levels of ozone in Las Vegas put our citizens at risk for premature death and other serious health effects such as asthma attacks and greater difficulty breathing for those living with a lung disease like COPD,” said Kristina Crawford, executive director of the Lung Association in Nevada. “Across the nation, the report found continued improvement in air quality, but still, more than four in 10 Americans – 133.9 million – live in counties that have unhealthful levels of either ozone or particle pollution, where their health is at risk.”
Though the report revealed some harsh truths about Sin City air, it also showed that things are improving. Data compiled for the 2018 report showed that Las Vegas reported the fewest number of unhealthy ozone days ever. It also said that short-term particle pollution decreased from last year, continuing a downward trend of what the report described as “extremely dangerous and even lethal,” pollution.
Many cities had more days when ground-level ozone — known as “smog” — reached unhealthy levels, the report said.
Statewide in Nevada
When it comes to the number of high smog days in Nevada, besides Carson City, the six counties where data was recorded didn’t fare well. Carson City received an admirable “B” grade, but the two most populous counties – Clark and Washoe – each got an “F.” Lyon County received a “D” and White Pine and Churchill each received “C” grades.
Many counties across the country received either an INC grade — meaning there was incomplete monitoring data — or a DNC grade, indicating there was no monitor collecting data.
When it comes to soot, Clark County and Carson City each received the highest grade, with a “C.” Washoe County received a “D” and Douglas County received an “F.”
Here’s the grades for the counties in Nevada that provided enough data to assess:
Clark CountySmog grade: FSoot grade: CWashoe CountySmog grade: FSoot grade: DCarson CitySmog grade: BSoot grade: CDouglasSmog grade: DNCSoot grade: FChurchillSmog grade: CSoot grade: DNCWhite PineSmog grade: CSoot grade: DNC
Across the country
More than 40 percent of Americans live in counties with an unhealthy level of either smog or soot, the study said. California had many cities with the most air pollution.
Eight of the 10 smoggiest cities and eight of the 10 most soot-ridden cities reside in California. Among these were Los Angeles, Fresno, Bakersfield and Visalia.
“Los Angeles remains the city with the worst ozone pollution as it has for nearly the entire history of the report,” the authors wrote.
For the first time, Fairbanks, Alaska, ranked as one of the most polluted for year-round soot levels, while Bakersfield maintained its badge of shame as the city with the worst short-term soot levels.
The study used the latest quality-assured data available and examined soot levels in two ways: averaged year-round and over short-term levels, defined as 24 hours. The analysis also used a weighted average number of days. Click here to read the full methodology.
The authors emphasized the need to keep the Clean Air Act intact, funded and enforced — something some lawmakers have targeted for repeal. The study says the number of people exposed to unhealthy levels of air pollution increased to nearly 134 million people, up from 125 million in their previous report.
Furthermore, the authors said climate change contributed to worsening smog levels, particularly with record-setting heat.
“The spike in ozone demonstrates the public health impact of increased temperatures from the changing climate on the nation’s air quality,” the report said. “With 2016 marking the second warmest year on record, the higher temperatures provided fuel to increase the formation of ozone from the still under-controlled emissions of the precursor emissions.”
Ozone and particle pollution are associated with premature death, developmental harm, reproductive harm, lung cancer and heart damage, the ALA says.
Patch reporter Dan Hampton contributed to this report.
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