The latest findings from the American Lung Association's "State of the Air" report shed light on the air quality in the United States, revealing that a significant portion of Americans live under the shadow of unhealthy air. The research draws on data the Environmental Protection Agency collected between 2020 and 2022. It underscores an alarming reality: nearly 39% of the U.S. population, or about 131 million people, are exposed to air that fails to meet health standards.

This comprehensive report particularly spotlights California, where numerous cities bear the dubious distinction of having some of the worst air pollution in the country. Bakersfield, for instance, leads the nation with the highest level of year-round particle pollution, a title it has unfortunately held for five consecutive years. Other Californian cities like Visalia, Fresno-Madera-Hanford, and even the larger Los Angeles area, notorious for its smog, continue to struggle with both particle pollution and ozone levels.

In contrast, Utah's battle with air pollution paints a slightly different picture. Salt Lake City-Provo-Orem emerges as a significant concern, primarily in terms of ozone pollution. While California's issues are exacerbated by a mix of industrial activities, agriculture, and natural phenomena such as droughts and wildfires, Utah's challenges with ozone highlight the pervasive nature of air quality issues across different states and environments.

The "State of the Air" report draws attention to these stark realities and signals a call to action. Despite progress in reducing emissions since the Clean Air Act of 1970, the American Lung Association emphasizes the heightened difficulties of managing air quality amid climate change. Rising temperatures and increased wildfires contribute significantly to deteriorating air conditions, making the Association's ongoing research and advocacy efforts crucial in the fight for cleaner air and public health. Through this report, the American Lung Association continues to play a vital role in highlighting environmental disparities and pushing for necessary changes to protect air quality nationwide.

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