Breathe Easy: Top 5 Ranked Cities with the Best Air Quality in the US

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Outdoor air pollution contributes to lung cancer, lower respiratory infection, stroke, and heart disease. For several decades, we have known the health risks associated with poor air quality and tried to take action to fix it.

Breathe Easy: Top 5 Ranked Cities with the Best Air Quality in the US

While certain cities and states have significantly reduced their air pollution, others are not so fortunate

Wondering whether your city is among those with the best air quality in the US?

Keep reading to find out which 5 cities have the best air quality in the USA.

Air Quality Standards

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established national air quality standards in 1971. These guidelines establish allowable levels of common pollutants.

Since the initial drafting of these guidelines, updates have been made to address specific pollutants that are now known to cause harm even at very low levels. Scientific studies continue to investigate pollutants and their effects.

While many cities in the US have produced regulations to comply with air quality standards, others are still trying to catch up.

The American Lung Association (ALA) produces an annual “state of the air” report establishing the cities with the best and worst air quality.

Ready to see who made the list?

Best Air Quality in the US

The following cities were ranked the cleanest for year-round particle pollution levels. They are ranked by their average levels of particles:

  1. Honolulu, Hawaii
  2. Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, Hawaii
  3. Cheyenne, Wyoming
  4. Elmira-Corning, New York
  5. Wilmington, North Carolina

These rankings are subject to change each time the EPA measures. Additionally, there are several ways to measure and report on air quality. If you were to rank cities based on just the cleanest cities for ozone pollution, it would be as follows:

  1. Anchorage, Alaska
  2. Bangor, Maine
  3. Bismark, North Dakota
  4. Bowling Green-Glasgow, Kentucky
  5. Brownsville-Harlingen-Raymondville, Texas

You may notice that the cities mentioned above are generally less populated than other cities. This contributes to better air quality because there is less pollution from things like cars and businesses.

Worst Air Quality in the US

Below are the cities that rank among the worst air quality in the US:

  1. Bakersfield, California
  2. Fresno-Madera-Hanford, California
  3. Visalia, California
  4. Los Angeles-Long Beach, California
  5. San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, California

And per ozone pollution standards, the worst air quality cities are as follows:

  1. Los Angeles-Long Beach, California
  2. Visalia, California
  3. Bakersfield, California
  4. Fresno-Madera-Hanford, California
  5. Sacramento-Roseville, California

Protecting Yourself From Air Pollution

Even if you live in a city with low air quality, you can take certain precautions to protect yourself from air pollution. For example, you can check the air pollution forecasts for your area before going outside.

If pollution is high you can avoid outdoor activities and exercise.

If you have a lung condition, you may also be able to use a bronchodilator to alleviate the symptoms and help you breathe easier.

To reduce overall air pollution, you can attempt to use less energy and choose to use an energy-efficient method of transportation.

Do Your Part

Each of us has the opportunity to do our part and improve air quality in our country. Whether you live in a city with the best air quality in the US or the worst, you can be a force of change.

To reduce overall air pollution, you can attempt to use less energy and choose to use an energy-efficient method of transportation.

If you want to learn more about important health topics, check out our other blogs.

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