New Report: Wichita, Topeka Among the Cleanest Cities for Ozone Pollution

Johnson, Sedgwick, Sumner counties among cleanest for ozone and short-term particle pollution

This year’s “State of the Air” report from the American Lung Association finds Wichita, KS ranks among the cleanest cities in American for both ozone and short-term particle pollution.  Topeka, KS appears on the list of cleanest cities for ozone pollution. Six Kansas counties appear on the cleanest county list for ozone air pollution including Johnson, Leavenworth, Sedgwick, Shawnee, Sumner and Trego. Five counties made the cleanest county list for short-term particle pollution including Johnson, Neosho, Sedgwick, Sumner and Trego. See the full report at Lung.org/sota.

Just six of the state’s 105 counties received “A” grades for ozone days and five counties received “A” grades for particle pollution days. “While some Kansanss saw some improvement in ozone and particle pollution, there are many more counties with grades of “B” and “C”,” said Sara Prem of the American Lung Association in Kansas and Greater Kansas City. “This matters because nearly 90,000 Kansans suffer with lung diseases including asthma, COPD and lung cancer,” she added. As the nation and our community continues to respond to the pandemic, reducing air pollution is critical for respiratory health now and in the future. New research shows that exposure to elevated levels of air pollution is linked to worse health outcomes from COVID-19, including more deaths. 
 
The year’s report found that nationwide, more than 4 in 10 people (135 million) lived with polluted air, placing t-heir health and lives at risk. In Kansas metropolitan areas, including Kansas City, Kansas in Wyandotte County, air pollution places the health of residents at greater 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 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 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. 

For more information, contact:

James A. Martinez
(312) 445-2501
[email protected]

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