In the year 2000, the American Lung Association launched its annual “State of the Air” report to provide the public with easy-to-understand information about the quality of the air in their local communities based on the credible data and sound science that EPA is required to use to set the air quality standards.
For the first several years, “State of the Air” focused solely on ozone pollution and included data for five populations at increased risk – children, older adults, children with asthma, adults with asthma and people with emphysema. In 2004, changes to the air quality standards and the deployment of air pollution monitoring enabled the addition of short-term and year-round fine particle pollution to the report. Over time, accumulating scientific evidence has shown significant health harms from both ozone and particle pollution among other groups of vulnerable individuals. “State of the Air” has accommodated this new information by gradually adding populations-at-risk categories to its reporting. “State of the Air” 2023 now includes data for 10 vulnerable groups.
Since its inception, “State of the Air” has been tremendously successful in raising awareness about particle pollution and ozone, two of the most dangerous and pervasive air pollutants nationwide. The American Lung Association is proud and grateful that the public, the media, clean air advocates and decision-makers have used this report every day, year after year, to call attention to the work that remains to be done to protect the health of all Americans from the threat of air pollution.
We write and release “State of the Air” every year to make information on air quality and health clear and accessible to everyone. We show the progress each community has made and how much more needs to be done to achieve healthy air. In this report, you’ll find information on local air quality nationwide. You’ll also find the latest roundup of the research on how air pollution affects health. With these tools, you can help keep your lungs and your family’s lungs safer from unhealthy air.
This report also includes ideas for how you can become a champion for clean air. First, we have suggestions for concrete actions you can take to reduce your own contributions to air pollution and climate change. And second, we invite you to take advocacy action with the American Lung Association. Our report includes policy recommendations for every level of government. Your voice is powerful, and when you tell your leaders that your lungs depend on stronger limits on air pollution, you make a compelling case. Please share your story and add your name to our petition – and then, take the next step. Reach out to your representatives at every level of government, share the “State of the Air” results for your community, and call on them to take action to protect public health.
For long-time Los Angeles area residents, poor air quality isn’t always top of mind, with smog and bad air days a regular occurrence.
Lee M. has lived in Southern California for 12 years. The change in air quality is noticeable when away, such as during his visits to Portland, Oregon.
“When you go to other places, you realize it’s not as fresh as it could be,” he says. “There’s that feeling when you get off the train in Portland – it’s green, I can breathe and it doesn’t smell like cars.”
Lee considers air quality when choosing where to live. He avoids living near freeways due to noise and air concerns but still has to regularly clean his porch of soot and dust, especially when winds blow wildfire smoke into the region.
“Clean air makes for a better place to be.”
West Hollywood, California
Page last updated: April 18, 2023