Air quality matters because without air to breathe we cannot live. Indeed, air and survival are so synonymous that we describe things that are essential to life with the simile ‘it's like the air we breathe.’
Unfortunately, there is a great deal in the air that millions of Americans breathe that is harmful to their health such as deadly particular matter. Such matter consists of soot, ash, dust, and metals which come from industry, wildfires, and vehicles. Sadly, over 63 million Americans are exposed to deadly particulate matter at dangerous levels which is 9 million more than the previous year.
Then there is the issue of increased levels of Ozone in the air. Ozone is vital for our survival because it acts as a barrier between the Earth and the UV rays that come from the sun. However, it performs this vital role when located in the stratosphere, and down at ground level, it can be toxic to those that breathe it in. Indeed, those that breathe in Ozone can experience lung damage, coughing, and compounding of preexisting issues such as Asthma.
US Air quality on the decline
Now we are clear on how much air quality matters, the news that it's largely on the decline in the US, can be properly understood. Indeed, this finding from the American Lung Association (ALA) that more people in the USA are living in locations with increased air pollution than ever is truly terrifying.
The ALA’s report known as The State of The Air found that over 137 million Americans live in states and cities deemed to have poor air quality. This is just under half of the entire county at 40%!
Air quality is worse in the west of the USA
In particular, the ALA report found that the west of the US suffers from the lowest air quality. With 24 out of 25 of the cities with the highest levels of particulate matter pollution are in the West. A phenomenon associated with the high frequency of wildfires in this location.
California is the worst state for air pollution!
It is not surprising then that California on the west coast of the USA is the worst state for air pollution with 11 of the most 15 polluted cities in the country. In particular, Fresno is one of the cities most affected by particulate matter pollution. Los Angeles has the dubious honor of being the city in the entire US with the worst level of Ozone for 22 out of the last 23 years.
Those looking for cleaner air should choose Eastern US locations
With all of this in mind, it makes sense that those looking for clean and pollutant-free air should look to live in the East of America wherever possible. With Wilmington NC and Cheyenne, Wyo. being the top choices.However, if you find yourself in a position where you can’t up-end your life right now and move across the country, there are some other actions you can take to help make sure your family has cleaner air such as investing in an air purifier for your home. Air purifiers work by trapping pollutants and particles inside their filters as they pull air in. Thereby improving home air quality for you and your family.