New Report: North Dakota’s Air Quality Is Good

Bismarck named ‘Cleanest City’ for ozone, long-term particulate pollution

This year’s “State of the Air” report from the American Lung Association finds that North Dakota’s rankings were generally good for the most harmful and widespread types of air pollution: particle pollution and ozone.  

The Lung Association’s annual air quality “report card” tracks and grades Americans’ exposure to unhealthful levels of particle pollution over a three-year period – this year’s report covers 2017-2019. The state’s 10 counties with air quality monitors scored mostly “A” and “B” grades with the exception of Mercer and Oliver counties, which earned a “C” for particle pollution. Burleigh County received the only “D” grade, for particle pollution. Cass County’s grade for particle pollution was the state’s only change from last year’s report, dropping from a “B” to a “C.”
Two North Dakota metropolitan areas were cited in the report’s “cleanest cities” list. Bismarck was noted for its low ozone and annual particle pollution and Fargo made the list cities with no ozone pollution alerts during the three-year reporting period. The full report can be seen at

This 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. People of color were 61% more likely to live in a county with unhealthy air than white people. 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.

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.

For more information, contact:

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

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