The most polluted cities in America

Published: Wednesday, April 30 2014 11:49 p.m. MDT

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Tired of Salt Lake's pollution-filled inversion every winter? Try living in Bakersfield, Calif. where, according to a new study released by The American Lung Association, the short-term particle pollution is even worse.

According to the ALA, Salt Lake City (and it's surrounding area) has the 8th worst short-term particle pollution problem in the country.

For a city to have a problem with short-term particle pollution, according to their definition, means that the metro area has bouts of "unhealthy spikes" in air pollution, "even if the year-round averages are low."

Here we've compiled the ALA's ranking of American metro areas with the worst short-term particle pollution, along with their statistics on the demographics most at risk by the pollution.

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Farmington, UT

Whoever thought SLC was the worst in the country, other than those with an agenda that didn't think it through. I remember being in downtown L.A. in the 1960's and your lungs hurt and your eyes burned and you couldn't see more than about a mile in any direction. SLC does have some bad days, without doubt, but a little wind scours the entire valley in just a few hours. So no, the sky isn't falling, even if the PC police and treehuggers say it is.

Auckland NZ, 00

What is the relationship between the introductory paragraph (can't really call it an article) and the unglossed gross morbidity numbers for a range of afflictions in other American cities? Why no explanation of the meaning of an acronym that appeared on every page - COPD? Why no rates/percentages, just useless figures that readers have to perform ten calculations per page to be able to make comparisons. A far superior format would have been ONE table, ONE page, and ONE idea knitting the miscellany together. Then the eye could have taken everything in at once. Extremely bad reporting. I wish you would get rid of these ridiculous lists that require click after click, delivering nothing worth even the fraction of a calory expended in the finger work.

terra nova
Park City, UT

“God's command to have dominion over every living thing is a call to service, a test of responsibility, a rule of love, a cooperation with nature, whereas Satan's use of force for the sake of getting gain renders the earth uninhabitable. Brigham Young's views on the environment direct attention to man's responsibility to beautify the earth, to eradicate the influences of harmful substances, and to use restraint, that the earth may return to its paradisiacal glory.”

― Hugh Nibley, Brother Brigham Challenges the Saints

Nibley wrote most effectively and passionately about a clean environment in "Approaching Zion." It is worth reading. One of his more lucid and accessible works.

Anyway you cut it, Utah's air quality is not something to be proud of. Let's do what we can.

American Fork, UT

It's like, 'we're not #1, we have to try harder!'

Los Angeles, CA

So, does the fact that another city's pollution is worse mean that SLC should do anything about the horrible pollution that does exist? Just because it's second worse doesn't mean it isn't a problem.

Durham, NC


@toosmartforyou - out of 388 MSAs, Utah is in the top 15 worst locations 2 MSAs on the list.... that is really something to be proud of. Absolutely proves Utah has nothing to worry about.

west jordan, UT

I used to live in Bakersfield,CA. The short term pollution was not that bad. It did not cause really cold temperatures like it does in SLC. Most of the pollution comes drifting in from Los Angeles. With 300,000-400,000 people in Bakersfield, Salt Lake county should have been able to be more polluted.

Spanish Fork, UT

i don't know who or why the rumor is so widely believed and spread that SLC or Utah Co has the worst air in the nation. how abt the 605 freeway corridor North in LongBeach-LA ? "wanna be's" ? selling paper or air time ? anything you can do we can do better (or worse)

What in Tucket?
Provo, UT

There is air pollution as gasoline when consumed delivers nitrogen oxides-air pollution. This can be reduced dramatically if we went to natural gas. At least can't our buses and government vehicles go to CNG? Some day we can go to electric, but we need nuclear fusion or something. This will come in time,but right now why import oil from Saudi Arabie?

Salt Lake City, UT

"Whoever thought SLC was the worst in the country, other than those with an agenda that didn't think it through. "

Depends on what category is being talked about and timeframe. For instance, Salt Lake City and other Utah cities are horrendous for PM2.5 in the November-February range but during the rest of the year (aside from random wildfire incidents or 2 hour dust storm events like the other day) PM2.5 isn't an issue. Other cities ozone is a big problem.

Kings Court
Alpine, UT

This article is basically saying, "Shut up, Utah. Your air is great because another city has worse air." That is my perception of what is being said.

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