“State of the Air” report fails parts of Arizona for air quality

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The American Lung Association released this year’s “State of the Air” report. It compiles data and rates air pollution levels across the country by state and by county. JoAnna Strother, Senior Director of Advocacy with the American Lung Association, joined Arizona Horizon to discuss the report.

What is the State of the Air report?

The report first began in 2000 with the goal of raising awareness about air pollution. The data focuses on two types, short-term particle and ozone.

What were the key findings?

This year’s report found about 36% of Americans live in places that received failing grades for unhealthy levels of ozone or particle pollution.

“The improvement was seen in falling levels of ozone in many places around the country, the continuation of a positive trend that reflects the success of the Clean Air Act,” the report noted. “However, the number of people living in counties with failing grades for daily spikes in deadly particle pollution was 63.7 million, the most reported in the last ten years,” the report said.

Where does Arizona fall into this?

Ten out of Arizona’s 15 counties received grades for air pollution. Coconino County fared the best, being the only county to earn an A for ozone days. Gila, Maricopa, Pima and Pinal counties all received failing grades for high ozone days, according to the report.

What can be done about air pollution?

On an individual level, the report recommends people take action by checking daily pollution forecasts in their area. People can also work to reduce their everyday impact.

“Prioritize walking, biking and public transit over diesel- or gasoline-powered vehicles. Conserve electricity and purchase your power from clean, non-combustion sources if you can. Don’t burn leaves or trash, and avoid burning wood whenever possible,” the report said.

Another thing people can do is take advantage of tax credits that can help them make the switch to electric-powered vehicles and appliances.

“Under the Inflation Reduction Act passed in 2022, you may be able to get tax credits for buying a new or used electric vehicle or for upgrading your home with efficient, zero-emission appliances like induction stoves or heat pumps,” the report said.

JoAnna Strother, Senior Director of Advocacy, American Lung Association

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