The US Cities With the Most Polluted Air You Can Breathe

In the American Lung Association’s 2018 report on air quality, there was good and bad news for U.S. cities. On the positive side, the situation with general particle pollution improved over the past few years.

However, ozone pollution got worse across America since the 2017 report. Overall, 41% of the U.S. population lives in cities with unhealthy air. According to the report, ozone pollution will only get worse as the temperatures continue rising every year.

For now, the situation seems bad enough. To come up with the worst of 2018, we pulled the American Lung Association’s dirtiest air year-round. (Many were also among the worst for ozone and short-term toxin spikes.) Here are the 15 cities with the most polluted air you can breathe.

15. Houston

Houston, Texas, USA

The air is like a ‘sunburn’. | Sean Pavone/iStock/Getty Images

  • If particle pollution doesn’t get you, Houston’s ozone pollution might.

The American Lung Association compares ozone pollution to “a sunburn” for the respiratory system. In addition to high particulate pollution you’ll find in Houston-metro air, more dangerous ozone levels (11th) exist here as well.

That leaves residents vulnerable to both short-term (asthma attacks, coughing jags) and long-term (heart attacks, strokes, and lung cancer) effects. Overall, Houston air quality has improved but remains poor.

Next: The Motor City can do a number on your lungs.

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