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Coeur d’Alene-Spokane Valley Area is One of the Most-Polluted Areas in the Country According to 2019 ‘State of the Air’ Report

Wildfires across the state impact air pollution

(April 24, 2019) - COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho

For more information please contact:

Holly Harvey
[email protected]
(206) 512-3292

The Coeur d’Alene-Spokane Valley area is now tied for the 15th most-polluted area for short-term particle pollution in the nation, and across Idaho air quality is getting worse, according to the American Lung Association’s 2019 “State of the Air” report.

The report tracked short-term spikes in particle pollution, as these can be extremely dangerous and even lethal. The Coeur d’Alene-Spokane Valley area had its highest-ever weighted average number of days with spikes in particle levels and many of these spikes in were directly linked to events like wildfires, which are increasing in frequency and intensity in many areas due to climate change.

“People living in here should be aware that we’re breathing unhealthy air, and much of this unhealthy air is driven by wildfires that are a result of climate change, placing our health and lives at risk,” said Heather Kimmel, Health Promotions Director for the American Lung Association in Idaho. “In addition to challenges in Coeur d’Alene, air quality has gotten worse across Idaho and we have to do more to protect public health.”

Across the state, the Logan UT-ID area and Pocatello areas rank as the 11th and 25th most-polluted areas respectively in the nation for short-term particle pollution, worse than last year. Lemhi County and Shoshone County rank 15th and 17th most-polluted for annual particle pollution respectively in the U.S.

Each year the “State of the Air” provides a report card on the two most widespread outdoor air pollutants, ozone pollution, also known as smog, and particle pollution, also called soot. The report analyzes particle pollution in two ways: through average annual particle pollution levels and short-term spikes in particle pollution. Both ozone and particle pollution are dangerous to public health and can increase the risk of premature death and other serious health effects such as lung cancer, asthma attacks, cardiovascular damage, and developmental and reproductive harm.

“Particle pollution is made of soot or tiny particles that come from coal-fired power plants, diesel emissions, wildfires and wood-burning devices. These particles are so small that they can lodge deep in the lungs and trigger asthma attacks, heart attacks and strokes, and can even be lethal,” said Kimmel.

While the report examined data from 2015-2017, this 20th annual report online provides information on air pollution trends back to the first report. Learn more about Coeur d’Alene’s rankings, as well as air quality across Idaho and the nation, in the 2019 “State of the Air” report at Lung.org/sota. For media interested in speaking with an expert about lung health, healthy air, and threats to air quality, contact Holly Harvey at [email protected] or 206-512-3292.

Top twenty-five most polluted cities for short-term particle pollution
1.   Bakersfield, CA
2.   Fresno-Madera-Hanford, CA §
3.   Fairbanks, AK
4.   San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA §
5.   Missoula, MT
6.   Yakima, WA
7.   Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA
8.   Salt Lake City-Provo-Orem, UT*
9.   Seattle-Tacoma, WA
10.  Pittsburgh-New Castle-Weirton, PA-OH-WV
11.  Logan, UT-ID
12.  Visalia, CA
13. Phoenix-Mesa, AZ
14. El Centro, CA
15. Spokane-Spokane Valley-Coeur d’Alene, WA-ID (tie)
15. Sacramento-Roseville, CA (tie)
17. Medford-Grants Pass, OR (tie)
17. Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA (tie)
19. Eugene-Springfield, OR
20. Salinas, CA
21. Anchorage, AK
22. Bend-Prineville, OR
23. Portland-Vancouver-Salem, OR-WA
25. Bismarck, ND (tie)
25. Pocatello, ID (tie)

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About the American Lung Association

The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.

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