Depending on where you live in the United States, you may be breathing in air filled with pollution. According to the American Lung Association’s State of the Air 2020 report, 150 million people in the U.S. live in counties that received an F for either ozone or particle pollution. That’s nearly half of America’s 328 million people.
This year's report found 8.8 million more Americans living in counties with unhealthy air compared to last year's report.
One big cause of air pollution is climate change, as warmer weather, wildfires, changing rain patters create new challenges for fighting and reducing air pollution.
And despite the obvious lures of California, like beaches and sunny weather, it turns out the state isn't doing well in terms of air pollution. Of the U.S. cities with the worst air pollution, the top six are in California (Los Angeles ranks first). Las Vegas, Nevada ranks 9th and New York City places 12th.
Of note, 2020 also marks the 50th anniversary of the Clean Air Act, a law that works to improve air quality. In recent years, the Clean Air Act has been threatened by President Donald Trump as his administration seeks to weaken clean air regulations.