JACKSONVILLE, FL | April 19, 2023
The Lung Association’s 24th annual “State of the Air” report grades Americans’ exposure to unhealthy levels of ground-level ozone air pollution, annual particle pollution and short-term spikes in particle pollution over a three-year period. This year’s report covers 2019-2021.
“Here in Jacksonville and across the Nation, we are seeing ozone pollution improving, thanks in big part to the success of the Clean Air Act. But there is more work to do,” said Ashley Lyerly, Senior Director of Advocacy for Florida for the American Lung Association. “Even one poor air quality day is one too many for our residents at highest risk, such as children, older adults, individuals who are pregnant and those living with chronic disease. That’s why we are calling on lawmakers at the local, state and federal levels to take action to ensure that everyone has clean air to breathe.”
Nationally, the report found that ozone pollution has generally improved across the Nation, thanks in large part to the success of the Clean Air Act. However, more work remains to fully clean up harmful pollution, and short-term particle pollution continues to get worse. In addition, some communities bear a greater burden of air pollution. Out of the nearly 120 million people who live in areas with unhealthy air quality, a disproportionate number – more than 64 million (54%) – are people of color. In fact, people of color were 64% more likely than white people to live in a county with a failing grade for at least one measure, and 3.7 times as likely to live in a county with a failing grade for all three measures.
Ground-level Ozone Pollution in Jacksonville
Like the 2022 report, Jacksonville experienced zero unhealthy days of high ozone in this year’s report. Duval County, typically the most polluted county for ozone in the metro area, recorded zero unhealthy days of ozone smog for its second time receiving a “B” grade. Meanwhile, this year was Baker County’s eleventh consecutive report with an “A” grade with zero unhealthy days.
Particle Pollution in Jacksonville
The report also tracked short-term spikes in particle pollution, which can be extremely dangerous and even deadly. Jacksonville’s short-term particle pollution improved in this year’s report, which means there were fewer unhealthy days. The area is tie ranked 118th worst for short-term particle pollution. Duval County retained its “B” grade for short-term particle pollution.
The 2023 “State of the Air” found that year-round particle pollution levels in Jacksonville were slightly higher than in last year’s report. The area was tie ranked 89th most polluted for year-round particle pollution, compared to the tied ranking of 86th last year.
The American Lung Association is calling on President Biden to urgently move forward on several measures to clean up air pollution nationwide, including new pollution limits on ozone and particle pollution and new measures to clean up power plants and vehicles. See the full report results and sign the petition at Lung.org/SOTA.
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