Lung Association Report: Wilmington’s Named as Top 5 Cleanest Cities in U.S.

Report reveals no unhealthy pollution days for Wilmington metro area

This year’s “State of the Air” report from the American Lung Association finds that the Wilmington area’s air quality is some of the cleanest in the nation. The city was one of just five nationwide that made the cleanest cities list for ozone pollution, year-round particle pollution and short-term particle pollution. See the full report at

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.

“This is fantastic news, because ozone and particle 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,” said Christine Hart, manager of the Healthy Air Campaign at the Lung Association. “The area was ranked as one of the cleanest cities for ozone pollution, and both short-term and year-round particle pollution, which means that there were no unhealthy days for these common pollutants.”

Ozone Pollution in Wilmington
Wilmington experienced no unhealthy air quality days for ozone pollution during the years 2017-2019. The area was given an “A” grade for ozone pollution. 

Particle Pollution in Wilmington
The “State of the Air” report found that year-round particle pollution levels in Wilmington were lower than in last year’s report. The report also tracked short-term spikes in particle pollution, which can be extremely dangerous and even lethal. Wilmington 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. 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.

The Lung Association advises North Carolina residents to pay attention to the daily air quality index (AQI) to know when to take extra precautions to protect your health. You can check the AQI for your zip code at On bad air days, it is important to limit outdoor activity to prevent possible asthma attacks, coughing, wheezing or even heart attacks.  

Learn more about “State of the Air” at 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
[email protected]

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