Lung Association Report: Baton Rouge Air Quality Improves, Area Still Receives “F” Grade for Ozone Pollution

Report reveals fewer unhealthy air pollution days for Baton Rouge metro area

This year’s “State of the Air” report from the American Lung Association finds that the Baton Rouge area’s ozone, year-round and short-term air pollution all improved compared to last year’s report, however the area still received an “F” grade for ozone pollution. See the full report at Lung.org/sota.

The Lung Association’s annual air quality “report card” tracks and grades Americans’ exposure to unhealthful levels of particle pollution (also known as soot) and ozone (smog) over a three-year period – this year’s report covers 2017-2019.

“Although the air pollution levels have improved, the ozone pollution is still alarmingly high in Baton Rouge,” said Ashley Lyerly, the director of advocacy for the Lung Association. “This pollution can harm the health of all of our residents, but place our children, older adults and people living with lung disease particularly at risk.” 

Ozone Pollution in Baton Rouge
Compared to the 2020 report, Baton Rouge experienced fewer unhealthy days of high ozone in this year’s report. “State of the Air” found that Baton Rouge had a weighted average of 5.7 days (an F), which is an improvement from last year’s 6.0 days. The area was ranked 38th most polluted for ozone nationally. 

Particle Pollution in Baton Rouge
The “State of the Air” report found that year-round particle pollution levels in Baton Rouge were lower than in last year’s report. The area was ranked 56th most polluted for year-round particle pollution (improved from 46th worst last year). The report also tracked short-term spikes in particle pollution, which can be extremely dangerous and even lethal. Baton Rouge saw fewer unhealthy days for short-term particle pollution, and was  ranked 57th most polluted.

The “State of the Air” report found that nationwide, more than 4 in 10 people (135 million) lived with polluted air, placing their health and lives at risk. In Baton Rouge, ozone and particle pollution placed its residents at risk, including those who are more vulnerable to the effects of air pollution, such as older adults, children and people with a lung disease. The report also shows that people of color were 61% more likely to live in a county with unhealthy air than white people, and three times more likely to live in a county that failed all three air quality grades. The report also finds that climate change made air quality worse and harder to clean up.

The report analyzes particle pollution in two ways: average annual levels and short-term spikes. Both ozone and particle pollution can cause premature death and other serious health effects such as asthma attacks and cardiovascular damage and are linked to developmental and reproductive harm. Particle pollution can also cause lung cancer.

Learn more about “State of the Air” at Lung.org/sota and sign the petition for the Biden Administration to promote clean air, a safe climate and environmental justice. Media interested in speaking with an expert about lung health, clean air and threats to air quality can contact Jill Dale at [email protected] or at 312-940-7001. 

For more information, contact:

Jill Dale
312-940-7001
[email protected]

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