Fayetteville ranked as one of the nation’s cleanest cities for air quality

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Fayetteville was named one of the cleanest cities in the U.S. in two categories, according to a report by the American Lung Association.

The Lung Association’s annual air quality “report card” tracks and grades Americans’ exposure to unhealthful levels of particle pollution (also known as soot) and ozone (smog) over a three-year period. This year’s report covers 2017-2019.

This is fantastic news, because ozone and particle pollution can harm the health of all of our residents, but place our children, older adults and people living with lung disease particularly at risk. The area has seen a significant improvement in ozone pollution, especially since 2010-2012, when we had a weighted average of 7.8 unhealthy air quality days.

Shannon Baker, director of advocacy for the American Lung Association

Fayetteville experienced no unhealthy air quality days for ozone pollution during the years 2017-2019. The area was given an “A” grade for ozone pollution.

The “State of the Air” report found that year-round particle pollution levels in Fayetteville were within the national standards and received a “PASS” grade.

The report also tracked short-term spikes in particle pollution, which can be extremely dangerous and even lethal. Fayetteville was ranked as one of the cleanest cities for short-term particle pollution, which means that there were no unhealthy air quality days for this pollutant.

The report found that nationwide, more than 4 in 10 people (135 million) lived with polluted air, placing their health and lives at risk. The report also shows that people of color were 61% more likely to live in a county with unhealthy air than white people, and three times more likely to live in a county that failed all three air quality grades.

The report also finds that climate change made air quality worse and harder to clean up.

The report analyzes particle pollution in two ways: average annual levels and short-term spikes. Both ozone and particle pollution can cause premature death and other serious health effects such as asthma attacks and cardiovascular damage and are linked to developmental and reproductive harm. Particle pollution can also cause lung cancer.

You can read the entire report here.

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