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Cities With The Most Low Income Housing Areas Also Have The Highest Pollution Rates


According to the American Lung Association, 40 percent of Americans live in cities with dangerous air pollution levels. The following is a ranking of the top ten worst U.S. cities for air pollution based on information from the American Lung Association from 2009-2011. Ironically, these cities also have tons of low income housing areas. In other words, the poorer the people, the more pollution they are exposed to.

#1 - Bakersfield, CA - ranks number one in having the worst air quality. For 199 days out of the year, the city's air is considered unhealthy for people with sensitivity issues, and for 24 days out of the year it is unhealthy for everyone.

#2 - Merced, CA - has the worst particle pollution in the nation. Particle pollution comes from fine liquid or solids such as dust, smoke, fumes, or smog found in air or emissions. The city comes in second for overall number of days per year with unhealthy air quality.

#3 - Fresno/Madera, CA - ranked one of the worst for numbers of days with elevated ozone levels. Ozone is a toxic air pollutant resulting from the action of sunlight on air contaminants from automobile exhausts and other sources. Ozones cause health problems when the levels are too high.

#4 - Hanford, CA - this town of 154,000 people is located near Bakersfield. More than 12,000 people in Hanford have asthma. Their high ranking of air pollution makes the symptoms of asthma worse.

#5 - Los Angeles, CA - home to 18 million residents, Los Angeles averaged 100 high ozone level days between 2009 and 2011, more than any other U.S. city. This makes it particularly unhealthy for the city's almost 4 million residents who suffer from cardiovascular disease.

#6 - Modesto, CA - has a combination of high ozone, high particle pollution, and high number of days with high pollution counts.

#7 - Visalia, CA - between 2009-2011, this city averaged 234 days out of the year with ozone air quality that was considered unhealthy for people with health problems aggravated by pollution.

#8 - Pittsburgh, PA - due to its location near Midwest power plants using coal, in addition to pollution from heavy traffic, this city has a high level of particle pollution. Twenty-eight percent of its residents have cardiovascular disease.

#9 - El Centro, CA - 14,253 of this city's 177,057 residents have asthma. Most of its pollution comes from vehicle emissions. This makes it an uncomfortable place to live for people with health problems made worse by pollution.

#10 - Cincinnati, OH - this city is located on the Ohio River which in 2010 released more toxins than any other U.S. river. They also have a high level of days per year with dangerous ozone levels.

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