Ada County Gets Low Marks in New 'State of the Air' Report 

Los Angeles remains the U.S. city with the worst ozone pollution. In fact, eight of the top-10 most ozone-polluted cities were in California.

Residents in Southwest Idaho are well-familiar with yellow and orange air alerts issued by the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality. It was just last July when Boise saw no fewer than 20 days of yellow alerts, indicating moderate levels of pollution. By August, Boise was blanketed by smoke coming in from a half-dozen major wildfires in the region, triggering a string of orange alerts. And by September, the DEQ issued a statewide air quality advisory and the Treasure Valley edged up to the dreaded "purple" alert category, indicating "very unhealthy" conditions. As a result, the Boise and West Ada School districts canceled all outside activities and events September 6-8.

In its newly released "State of the Air 2018" report, the American Lung Association gave a "D" grade to Ada County for its high level of ozone. Franklin, Benewah, Lemhi and Shoshone counties also received low marks for their multiple number of "high particle pollution days." Canyon County did not submit any ozone reports to be included in the analysis.

According to the analysis, ozone pollution worsened significantly compared to the previous report, with the number of total Americans exposed to unhealthy levels of air pollution increasing to more than 133 million people, higher than the 125 million estimated in the 2017 report.

Los Angeles remains the U.S. city with the worst ozone pollution. In fact, eight of the top-10 most ozone-polluted cities were in California. Outside of California, a troubling number of other Western communities made the list of cities most affected by short-term particle pollution, including Salt Lake City (No. 8); Logan, Utah (No. 11); Missoula, Montana (No. 12); Seattle-Tacoma, Washington (No. 15); Yakima, Washington (No. 17); and Eugene, Oregon (No. 24).

The good news for the west is that two cities—Bellingham, Washington, and Casper, Wyoming—were among some of the cleanest cities, with zero high ozone or high particle pollution days, according to the report.


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