LOUISVILLE, KY | April 21, 2022
The 2022 “State of the Air” report, released today by the American Lung Association, finds that Louisville’s rankings were worse for some of the most harmful and widespread types of air pollution. While the city’s ranking for ozone and year-round particle pollution remained about the same as in last year’s report, its ranking for short-term particle pollution worsened.
The “State of the Air” report is the Lung Association’s annual air quality “report card” that tracks and grades Americans’ exposure to unhealthy levels of ground-level ozone air pollution (also known as smog), annual particle pollution (also known as soot), and short-term spikes in particle pollution, over a three-year period. This year’s report covers 2018-2020. See the full report at Lung.org/SOTA.
“The levels of ozone and particle pollution seen in Louisville can harm the health of all of our residents, but particularly at risk are children, older adults, pregnant people and those living with chronic disease. Both ozone and particle pollution can cause premature death and other serious health effects such as asthma attacks, cardiovascular damage, and developmental and reproductive harm. Particle pollution can also cause lung cancer,” said Shannon Baker, Advocacy Director for the Lung Association.
Ground-level Ozone Pollution in Louisville
Compared to the 2021 report, Louisville experienced the same number of unhealthy days of high ozone in this year’s report. “State of the Air” ranked Louisville as the 41st most polluted city for ozone pollution, which is just slightly worse compared to their ranking of 48th in last year’s report. The area received an “F” grade for ozone pollution.
Particle Pollution in Louisville
The report also tracked short-term spikes in particle pollution, which can be extremely dangerous and even lethal. Louisville’s short-term particle pollution got worse in this year’s report, which means there were more unhealthy days. The area is ranked 63rd worst for short-term particle pollution. The 2022 “State of the Air” found that year-round particle pollution levels in Louisville were slightly higher than in last year’s report. The area was ranked 27th most polluted for year-round particle pollution. The metro area continues to meet the national air quality standard for year-round particle pollution.
The report found that nationwide, nearly 9 million more people were impacted by deadly particle pollution than reported last year. It also shows more days with “very unhealthy” and “hazardous” air quality than ever before in the two-decade history of this report. Overall, more than 137 million Americans live in counties that had unhealthy levels of ozone or particle pollution. Communities of color are disproportionately exposed to unhealthy air. The report found that people of color were 61% more likely than white people to live in a county with a failing grade for at least one pollutant, and 3.6 times as likely to live in a county with a failing grade for all three pollutants.
The addition of 2020 data to the 2022 “State of the Air” report gives a first look at air quality trends during the COVID-19 pandemic. Regardless of the shutdowns in early 2020, there was no obvious improvement.
The American Lung Association is calling on the Biden administration to strengthen the national limits on both short-term and year-round particulate matter air pollution. Stronger standards will educate the public about air pollution levels that threaten their health and drive the cleanup of polluting sources in communities across the country. 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, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.
A Breath of Fresh Air in Your Inbox
Want updates on the latest lung health news, including COVID-19, research, inspiring stories and health information?
Join the 700,000+ people getting our email updates!
You will now receive email updates from the American Lung Association.