Lung Association Report: Tampa’s Air Quality Got Worse

Report reveals more unhealthy air pollution days for Tampa metro area

This year’s “State of the Air” report from the American Lung Association finds that Tampa’s ozone pollution has gotten worse. 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.

“The levels of ozone seen in Tampa can harm the health of all of our residents, but place our children, older adults and people living with lung disease particularly at risk,” said Ashley Lyerly, the director of advocacy for the Lung Association. “Fortunately, the area was ranked as one of the cleanest cities for short-term particle pollution, which means that there were no unhealthy days for this common pollutant.”

Ozone Pollution in Tampa
Compared to the 2020 report, Tampa experienced more unhealthy days of high ozone in this year’s report. “State of the Air” found that Tampa was ranked 57th most polluted for ozone nationally, which is significantly worse than the ranking of 68th last year. The area received an “F” grade for ozone pollution. 

Particle Pollution in Tampa
The “State of the Air” report found that year-round particle pollution levels in Tampa remained the same as in last year’s report. The area was ranked 115th most polluted for year-round particle pollution. The report also tracked short-term spikes in particle pollution, which can be extremely dangerous and even lethal. Tampa was ranked as one of the cleanest cities for short-term particle pollution, which means that there were no unhealthy air quality days for particle pollution.

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 Tampa, ozone 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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