Wyoming’s Air Quality receives Mixed Grades in American Lung Association State of the Air 2021 Report

This year’s “State of the Air” report from the American Lung Association finds that Wyoming’s grades and rankings were mixed for the most harmful and widespread types of air pollution: particle pollution and ozone. Casper is recognized as one of the cleanest cities for ozone pollution and joins Cheyenne as two of the cleanest cities for year-round particle pollution. Sublette County receives an “F” grade for ozone pollution and is the only rural county in the nation to receive an “F.”  See the full report at Lung.org/sota.

“While ground level ozone is typically a summertime air pollution problem, Sublette County has seen elevated level ozone levels in the winter,” said Carrie Nyssen, senior director of advocacy for the American Lung Association. “Elevated ozone levels can mean an increase in respiratory problems. High levels can harm the health of everyone; our children, older adults and people with lung disease are even more vulnerable.”

Ozone Pollution in Wyoming
Casper maintained its position on the cleanest cities list for ozone pollution. Fairbanks, Alaska and Honolulu, Hawaii also receive this recognition in the 2021 report.

Sublette County again receives an “F” grade and this year’s report shows more unhealthy ozone days than in the 2020 report.

Particle Pollution in Wyoming
“State of the Air” 2021 found Cheyenne and Casper were once again in the top five cleanest cities for year-round particle pollution. The report also tracked short-term spikes in particle pollution, which can be extremely dangerous and even lethal. Campbell County received a “D” grade for particle pollution and Laramie County received a “C” grade. All other counties with monitors received either an “A” or “B” grade. Smoke from wildfires will cause elevated levels of pm 2.5 during the summer months.  

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.

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