St. Louis Area Remains Off List of “Most-Polluted” U.S. Cities

Article courtesy of the Clean Air Partnership

For the second consecutive year, the St. Louis region has escaped being ranked among the top 25 most-polluted cities in the U.S., according to data from the American Lung Association’s 2018 “State of the Air” report. Unfortunately, while last year’s drop off the list was part of an overall trend in improved air quality nationwide, that is not the case in the most recent report.

Many cities across the nation experienced more days when ground level ozone reached unhealthy levels during the period measured by the report, a concerning trend attributed to record setting heat. The number of people nationwide exposed to unhealthy levels of air pollution increased to almost 134 million people, higher than the 125 million in the years covered by the 2017 report (2013 -2015). In all, more than four in 10 Americans are still living with unhealthy air, and residents of the St. Louis region are among them.

“It’s encouraging that the St. Louis region stayed off the list of the 25 most-polluted cities in the annual ‘State of the Air’ report, but that’s far from a clean bill of health for lung health in our region,” said Susannah Fuchs, Director, Clean Air for the American Lung Association in Missouri. “The data from the most recent report reveals several counties in the St. Louis metro area still had multiple days when the air quality was unhealthy, particularly for sensitive populations, and that’s unacceptable. We urge area residents to continue to take concrete steps to reduce emissions because these voluntary actions really do contribute to improved air quality conditions and that’s good for the lung health of our region.”

May 1st marks the return of The Partnership’s daily air quality forecasts and seasonal outreach to educate St. Louis residents on the health effects of air pollution and steps to keep air quality in the healthy range, something that is so important, especially for children, the elderly and the many individuals who suffer from respiratory disease. While weather conditions do play a significant role in our region’s daily air quality, the transportation choices we make also affect our air quality and the health of our region. Whether it’s using transit or carpooling for the work or school commute, walking or biking more, combining errands into a single trip, or avoiding idling our vehicles, simple steps can greatly impact the amount of ozone-forming emissions generated on any given day.

For more information and tips, visit www.cleanair-stlouis.com, like the Clean Air Partnership on Facebook or follow @gatewaycleanair on Twitter. To access the 2018 State of the Air report, visit www.lung.org.