Louisville Air Quality Results Mixed, Residents Exposed to Unhealthy Air Pollution

American Lung Association 2023 “State of the Air” report highlights air quality in Louisville and across the nation
The American Lung Association found that Jefferson County increased its levels for some of the most harmful types of air pollution, according to the 2023 “State of the Air” report, released today. While Louisville experienced fewer unhealthy days of high ozone in this year’s report, its particle pollution got worse and year-round particle pollution levels were higher than last year’s report.

The Lung Association’s 24th annual “State of the Air” report grades Americans’ exposure to unhealthy levels of ground-level ozone air pollution, annual particle pollution and short-term spikes in particle pollution over a three-year period. This year’s report covers 2019-2021.

“Here in Louisville and across the nation, we are seeing ozone pollution improving, thanks in big part to the success of the Clean Air Act, as well as to efforts at the local level. But there is more work to do,” said Shannon Baker, Advocacy Director for the Lung Association. “Even one poor air quality day is one too many for our residents at highest risk, such as children, older adults, individuals 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.”

Nationally, the report found that ozone pollution has generally improved across the nation, again thanks in large part to 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 a failing grade for all three measures.

Ground-level Ozone Pollution in Louisville
Compared to the 2022 report, Louisville experienced fewer 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 better compared to its ranking in last year’s report. Jefferson County received a “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 deadly. Louisville’s short-term particle pollution got worse in this year’s report, which means there were more unhealthy days. The area is ranked 77th worst for short-term particle pollution. Jefferson County received a “C” grade for short-term particle pollution.

The 2023 “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 22nd most polluted for year-round particle pollution, worse than the ranking of 27th 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.

Media Resources American Lung Association Logos: American Lung Association Digital Logos | Powered by Box
For more information, contact:

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

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