LAS VEGAS, NV | April 19, 2023
“Reno and Las Vegas experienced unprecedented levels of short-term particle pollution in this year’s report, this is largely due to longer and more destructive wildfire seasons,” said Melissa Ramos, Sr. Manager of Clean Air Advocacy for the Lung Association. “These pollutants, which stem from sources like fuel combusting vehicles, wood-burning stoves, and construction, intensify under extreme climate conditions such as wildfires and prolonged droughts.”
“As we can see from this year’s report data, there is much work to be done in Reno to improve our air quality,” said Bernadette Longo, PhD, RN, CNL, PHNA-BC, FAAN Chairwoman of the Nevada Nurses Association (NNA) Environmental Health Committee. “Even one poor air quality day is one too many for our residents at highest risk, such as children, older adults, those 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.”
“The transportation sector is the primary driver of our air pollution burdens, which is why I introduced Assembly Bill 184 to create the Clean Truck and Buses Incentive Program,” said Nevada Assemblyman Howard Watts. “This program would accelerate the adoption of medium and heavy-duty (MHD) zero-emission vehicles while reducing unhealthy levels of pollution on our roads.”
“All Nevadans should be able to breathe clean air no matter where we live, but right now that’s not the reality. Exhaust from heavy duty trucks is making people who live near major roadways and warehouses sick,” said Nevada Senator Dallas Harris. “Reducing truck pollution would not only improve life for the people bearing the brunt of it but also provide measurable public health benefits for our state to the tune of billions of dollars. We should seize this opportunity to deliver better health and lower costs for Nevadans."
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 failing grades for all three measures.
Ground-level Ozone Pollution in Reno
Compared to the 2022 report, Reno experienced more unhealthy days of high ozone in this year’s report. “State of the Air” ranked Reno as the 19th most polluted city for ozone pollution, which is worse compared to its ranking of 21st in last year’s report. Washoe County received an “F” grade for ozone pollution.
Particle Pollution in Reno
The report also tracked short-term spikes in particle pollution, which can be extremely dangerous and even deadly. Reno’s short-term particle pollution was the worst ever in this year’s report. The area is ranked 5th worst for short-term particle pollution. Washoe County received an “F” grade for short-term particle pollution.
Ground-level Ozone Pollution in Las Vegas
Compared to the 2022 report, Las Vegas experienced fewer unhealthy days of high ozone in this year’s report. “State of the Air” ranked Las Vegas as the 15th most polluted city for ozone pollution, which is better compared to its ranking of 11th in last year’s report. Clark County received a “F” grade for ozone pollution.
Particle Pollution in Las Vegas
The report also tracked short-term spikes in particle pollution, which can be extremely dangerous and even deadly. Las Vegas’s short-term particle pollution was the worst ever in this year’s report. The area is ranked 31st worst for short-term particle pollution. Clark County received an “F” grade for short-term particle pollution.
The 2023 “State of the Air” found that year-round particle pollution levels in both Reno and Las Vegas were higher than in last year’s report. Reno ranked 35th most polluted for year-round particle pollution, worse than the ranking of 95 last year. Las Vegas ranked 30th most polluted for year-round particle pollution, worse than the ranking of 32 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.
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, which has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and is a Platinum-Level GuideStar Member, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org. To support the work of the American Lung Association, find a local event at Lung.org/events.
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