New Report: Louisville’s Air Improving

Reductions in unhealthy ozone days

This year’s “State of the Air” report from the American Lung Association finds that Louisville’s rankings were improving for the most harmful and widespread types of air pollution: particle pollution and ozone. The metro area saw reductions in unhealthy ozone days compared with last year’s report, almost matching its best ever from the 2017 report. See the full report at Lung.org/sota.

Ozone Pollution in Louisville
Compared to the 2020 report, Jefferson County saw a drop from 9.5 unhealthy ozone days on average in 2016-2018, down to 5 days in this year’s report covering 2017-2019.

Particle Pollution in Louisville
“State of the Air” 2021 found that year-round particle pollution levels in Louisville were slightly higher than in last year’s report, the lowest levels ever recorded. The report also tracked short-term spikes in particle pollution, which can be extremely dangerous and even lethal. The report found that Louisville had zero days when short-term particle pollution reached unhealthy levels, remaining among the cleanest cities in the US for the second year in a row

The year’s report found that nationwide, more than 4 in 10 people (135 million) lived with polluted air, placing their health and lives at risk. In Louisville, pollution placed the health of (fewer) 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 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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