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New Report: DFW’s Air Quality Gets Worse Residents Exposed to More Unhealthy Air Pollution

Residents Exposed to More Unhealthy Air Pollution
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American Lung Association “State of the Air” Report reveals that residents faced more days of poor air quality

The 2022 “State of the Air” report, released today by the American Lung Association, finds that the Dallas Fort Worth metro area’s rankings were worse for some of the most harmful and widespread types of air pollution: particle pollution and ozone. The area is now the 16th most polluted city for ozone in America.

The “State of the Air” report is the Lung Association’s annual air quality “report card” that tracks and grades Americans’ exposure to unhealthy levels of ground-level ozone air pollution (also known as smog), annual particle pollution (also known as soot), and short-term spikes in particle pollution, over a three-year period. This year’s report covers 2018-2020. See the full report at Lung.org/sota.

“The levels of ozone and particle pollution seen in the area can harm the health of all of our residents, but particularly at risk are children, older adults, pregnant people and those living with chronic disease. Both ozone and particle pollution can cause premature death and other serious health effects such as asthma attacks, cardiovascular damage, and developmental and reproductive harm. Particle pollution can also cause lung cancer,” said Charlie Gagen, Advocacy Director for the Lung Association.

Ground-level Ozone Pollution in DFW

Compared to the 2021 report, the Dallas Fort Worth metro area experienced more unhealthy days of high ozone in this year’s report. “State of the Air” ranked the area as the 16th most polluted city for ozone pollution, which is worse compared to their ranking of 17th in last year’s report. The area received an “F” grade for ozone pollution.

Particle Pollution in DFW

The report also tracked short-term spikes in particle pollution, which can be extremely dangerous and even lethal. The area’s short-term particle pollution got worse in this year’s report, which means there were more unhealthy days. The area is ranked 44th worst for short-term particle pollution. The 2022 “State of the Air” found that year-round particle pollution levels were slightly lower than in last year’s report. However, the area was ranked 48th most polluted for year-round particle pollution, worse than the ranking of 50th last year. 

The report found that nationwide, nearly 9 million more people were impacted by deadly particle pollution than reported last year. It also shows more days with “very unhealthy” and “hazardous” air quality than ever before in the two-decade history of this report. Overall, more than 137 million Americans live in counties that had unhealthy levels of ozone or particle pollution. Communities of color are disproportionately exposed to unhealthy air. The report found that people of color were 61% more likely than white people to live in a county with a failing grade for at least one pollutant, and 3.6 times as likely to live in a county with a failing grade for all three pollutants.

The addition of 2020 data to the 2022 “State of the Air” report gives a first look at air quality trends during the COVID-19 pandemic. Regardless of the shutdowns in early 2020, there was no obvious improvement.

The American Lung Association is calling on the Biden administration to strengthen the national limits on both short-term and year-round particulate matter air pollution. Stronger standards will educate the public about air pollution levels that threaten their health and drive the cleanup of polluting sources in communities across the country. See the full report results and sign the petition at Lung.org/SOTA.

About the American Lung Association

The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.

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