New Report: St. Louis Metro Air Still Needs Improvement

This year’s “State of the Air” report from the American Lung Association finds that St. Louis rankings were mixed for the most harmful and widespread types of air pollution: particle pollution and ozone.  See the full report at Lung.org/sota.

“We are thrilled about the progress that has been made in our metro area in reducing air pollution and improving air quality.  We want to make sure that citizens and businesses and municipalities continue their efforts to reduce pollution, protecting the health of health of all of our residents.  Air pollution places our children, older adults and people living with lung disease particularly at risk and also has a negative health impact on each and every one of us living in our area,” says Susannah Fuchs, Director, Clean Air, for the American Lung Association in Missouri. 

Ozone Pollution in St Louis
Compared to the 2020 report, the St. Louis area experienced slightly fewer unhealthy days of high ozone in this year’s report. 

Particle Pollution in St. Louis
“State of the Air” 2021 found that year-round particle pollution levels in St. Louis were slightly higher than in last year’s report. The report also tracked short-term spikes in particle pollution, which can be extremely dangerous and even lethal. The report found that St. Louis had the same number of days when short-term particle pollution reached unhealthy levels as was evidenced in the last State of the Air Report. 

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. 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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