This website uses cookies. By continuing you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

American Lung Association "State of the Air 2016" Shows mixed results for Michigan Air Quality

(April 18, 2016) -

Editors' Note: Trend charts and rankings for metropolitan areas and county grades are available once the embargo lifts at

The American Lung Association's "State of the Air 2016" report released today shows mixed results for Michigan.

The Detroit Metropolitan Area reduced its ozone pollution (smog) and improved its ranking to 44th most polluted area in the nation. However, the Detroit metro area had higher (worse) levels than ever for year-round particle pollution (soot) and ranked as the 20th most polluted metro area in the nation for year-round particle pollution. The Metro Detroit area had slightly fewer days with unhealthy particle pollution. It ranked tied for 31st most polluted for short-term levels of particle pollution.

The Grand Rapids Metropolitan Area reduced its average number of days with unhealthy ozone levels but still remains tied for 18th most polluted for ozone in the nation. The Grand Rapids metro area had zero unhealthy days for short-term particle pollution and slightly worsened its year-round particles levels. It ranked as one of the cleanest cities for short-term particles and tied for 73rd for year-long particles.

Each year the "State of the Air" reports on the two most widespread outdoor air pollutants, ozone pollution and particle pollution. 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 be lethal.

Ozone (smog) is the most widespread air pollutant, created by the reaction of sunlight on emissions from vehicles and other sources. When ozone is inhaled, it irritates the lungs, like a bad sunburn. It can cause immediate health problems and continue days later. Ozone can cause wheezing, coughing, asthma attacks and premature death.

Particle pollution levels can spike dangerously for hours to weeks on end (short-term) or remain at unhealthy levels on average every day (year-round). Particle pollution can penetrate deep into the lungs and even into the bloodstream, leading to premature deaths, asthma attacks and heart attacks, as well as lung cancer.

"The 2016 'State of the Air' report finds unhealthful levels of ozone all across Michigan, putting citizens at risk for premature death and other serious health effects such as asthma attacks and cardiovascular harm," said Therese Smith, BSN, MS, CCM, and Chair of the American Lung Association in Michigan's (ALAM) Regional Leadership Council for Metro Detroit. "Across the nation, the report found continued improvement in air quality, but more than half of the people of the United States live in counties that have unhealthful levels of either ozone or particle pollution."

"If we can do more to save lives-we should, and we can," said Mistie Bowser, Chair of ALAM's Regional Leadership Council for outstate Michigan. "The Lung Association in Michigan calls on Governor Rick Snyder to resume the implementation of the Clean Power Plan to reduce harmful emissions from power plants that worsen climate change and immediately harm health."

Seven counties in Michigan saw their grades change in this year's report. Chippewa, Ingham, and Missaukee Counties saw a worsening of their grade for ozone pollution. Genesee, Kalamazoo, and St. Clair Counties saw a worsening of their grade for short-term particle pollution, while Wayne County improved its grade.

Below are the counties with grades and any changes in the grades.*



Allegan F None A None
Bay **   A None


F None **  
Berrien F None A None
Cass F None **  
Chippewa D Down
from C
A None
Clinton F None **  
Genesee F None B Down
Huron F None **  
Ingham F Down
from D
A None
Kalamazoo F None B Down
from A
Kent F None A None
Lenawee F None A None
Macomb F None A None
Manistee F None B None
Mason F None **  
Missaukee F Down
from D
A None
Monroe **   A None
Muskegon F None INC  
Oakland F None A None
Ottawa F None INC  
St. Clair F None B Down
from A
Schoolcraft F None **  
Washtenaw F None A None
Wayne F None D Up from

*Not all counties have grades because not all counties have air pollution monitors.

**Data not collected on that particular pollutant in that county.

***Short term particle pollution grades. Annual particle pollution grades can be found with the entire report at All Michigan counties with data received a passing grade on annual particle pollution.

To see how your community ranks in "State of the Air 2016," to learn how to protect yourself and your family from air pollution, and to join the fight for healthy air, visit:


The American Lung Association "State of the Air 2016" report uses the most recent quality-assured air pollution data, collected by federal, state and local governments and tribes in 2012, 2013, and 2014. The data comes from official monitors for the two most widespread types of pollution, ozone and particle pollution. The report grades counties, ranking cities and counties based on scores calculated by average number of unhealthy days (for ozone and for short-term particle pollution) and by annual averages (for year-round particle pollution).

Red button with telephone
Ask An Expert

Questions about your lung health? Need help finding healthcare? Call 1-800-LUNGUSA.

Get help
Red button of two hand prints
We need your generous support

Make a difference by delivering research, education and advocacy to those impacted by lung disease.

Button of turquoise LUNG FORCE swirl

LUNG FORCE unites women and their loved ones across the country to stand together in the fight against lung cancer.

Get involved
Join the fight for healthy lungs and healthy air.
Donate Now.