Report shows mixed bag on air quality in Colorado, U.S.

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The latest report on air quality in Colorado and the U.S. was a mixed bag.

CHICAGO — In its annual “State of the Air” report, the American Lung Association finds half of Americans live where air is unhealthy to breathe.

The report found particle pollution was reduced, but levels of ozone were worse than in last year’s report.

“We are happy to report continued reduction of year-round particle pollution across the nation, thanks to cleaner diesel fleets and cleaner power plants,” said Harold Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association.  “However, this improvement represents only a partial victory. We know that warmer temperatures increase risk for ozone pollution, so climate change sets the stage for tougher challenges to protect human health.

“We must meet these challenges head on to protect the health of millions of Americans living with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. All of us –everyone in every family—have the right to healthy air.”

In all, 147.6 million people live in counties with unhealthy levels of ozone or particle pollution.

In Colorado, Arapahoe, Douglas and Jefferson counties received F grades, while Denver, Boulder and Adams counties had D grades. Mesa and Pitkin counties had A grades.

In rankings of worst air in cities by ozone, year-round particle pollution and short-term particle pollution, the only Colorado city to rank in the top 25 was Fort Collins, at No. 22 for ozone.

Colorado cities that ranked with the cleanest air included Grand Junction (ozone), Colorado Springs (short-term particle pollution), Fort Collins (short-term particle pollution) and Pueblo-Canon City (short-term particle pollution).