Report gives NC mixed grade for healthy air

RALEIGH, NC (WTVD) -- The 2018 "State of the Air" report gave Raleigh a grade "B" for ozone pollution with just two unhealthy days last year.

The report, put together by the American Lung Association, ranked Charlotte with an "F," the worst grade. The Queen City had 17 unhealthy air days and was voted the most polluted city in the nation for ozone.

Fayetteville received a grade of "A" for ozone pollution, which placed the city amongst the cleanliest cities in the nation for air pollution.

Compared to the 2017 report, some North Carolina areas have seen an increase in ozone pollution slightly.

"The 2018 'State of the Air' report reveals that unhealthful levels of pollution put our citizens at risk," said June Deen, Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Health Promotions for the American Lung Association in North Carolina. "Ozone pollution and particle pollution are two of the most widespread and dangerous air pollutants. Breathing these pollutants can cause asthma attacks, respiratory and cardiovascular harm, and even early death."

Across the nation, the report found improvement in air quality, but unfortunately, more than four in 10 Americans live in counties that have unhealthful levels of either ozone or particle pollution where their health is at risk.

"We can and should do more to protect our air and to save lives," Deen said.

The ALA uses data collected from the Air Quality Index and the EPA to rank counties and cities across the country. The report analyzes particle pollution in two ways: through average annual particle pollution levels and short-term spikes in particle pollution.

Both ozone and particle pollution are dangerous to public health and can increase the risk of premature death and other serious health effects such as lung cancer, asthma attacks, cardiovascular damage, and developmental and reproductive harm.
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