Sioux Falls Named One of the Cleanest Cities for Particle Pollution in New Lung Association Report

“State of the Air” Report reveals that residents faced fewer days of poor air quality

The 2022 “State of the Air” report, released today by the American Lung Association, finds that Sioux Falls’ rankings were mixed for some of the most harmful and widespread types of air pollution: particle pollution and ozone. Sioux Falls ranked high on both the cleanest cities lists for short-term and year-round particle pollution but received a “C” grade for ozone pollution.

“The levels of ozone seen in Sioux Falls 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,” said Molly Collins, advocacy director for the Lung Association. “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. Fortunately, the area saw almost no particle pollution.”

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. 

Ground-level Ozone Pollution in Sioux Falls
Compared to the 2021 report, Sioux Falls experienced the same number of days of high ozone in this year’s report. The area received a “C” grade for ozone pollution again, with 1.3 unhealthy ozone pollution days on average in the 2022 “State of the Air” report.

Particle Pollution in Sioux Falls
The report also tracked short-term spikes in particle pollution, which can be extremely dangerous and even lethal. Sioux Falls registered zero short-term particle pollution days in this year’s report, earning a spot on the nation’s cleanest cities list again in the 2022 “State of the Air” report. Sioux Falls also appears on the cleanest cities list for annual particle pollution levels, ranking as the 8th cleanest city in America in this year’s report in terms of low annual particle levels. 

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 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

For more information, contact:

Dana Kauffman
[email protected]

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