[caption id="attachment_1931" align="alignright" width="240" caption="\"Pollution\", CC by-nc-sa licensed by Gilbert R. on flickr"]"Pollution", CC by-nc-sa licensed by Gilbert R. on flickr[/caption]Here's an "award" the city of Pittsburgh would probably prefer not to have "won". According to the 2008 American Lung Association’s State of the Air report, Pittsburgh is the number one U.S. city most polluted by short-term particle pollution.

  1. Pittsburgh, Pa.
  2. Los Angeles/Long Beach/Riverside, Calif.
  3. Fresno/Madera, Calif.
  4. Bakersfield, Calif.
  5. Birmingham, Ala.
  6. Logan, Utah
  7. Salt Lake City, Utah
  8. Sacramento, Calif.
  9. Detroit, Mich.
  10. Baltimore, Md./Washington, D.C./Northern Virginia.

The US Environmental Protection Agency's flyer "Particle Pollution and your Health" says about short-term pollution:

Short-term exposures to particles (hours or days) can aggravate lung disease, causing asthma attacks and acute bronchitis, and may also increase susceptibility to respiratory infections. In people with heart disease, short-term exposures have been linked to heart attacks and arrhythmias. Healthy children and adults have not been reported to suffer serious effects from short-term exposures, although they may experience temporary minor irritation when particle levels are elevated.

On the year-round pollution scale, the city ranks almost equally as bad: Trading spots with the "short term" number 2, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh was the second most polluted city in the country, year-round.

  1. Los Angeles/Long Beach/Riverside, Calif.
  2. Pittsburgh, Pa.
  3. Bakersfield, Calif.
  4. Birmingham, Ala.
  5. Visalia/Porterville, Calif.
  6. Atlanta, Ga.
  7. Cincinnati, Ohio
  8. Fresno/Madera, Calif.
  9. Hanford/Corcoran, Calif.
  10. Detroit, Mich.

Only in the third discipline, Ozone pollution, Pittsburgh doesn't rank among the top 10.

Link to the condensed lists, or look at the stateoftheair website for nice Google Maps overlays, and to find out how your city is doing.

(Thanks, Tara, for the link!) -- (Photo "Pollution", CC by-nc-sa licensed by Gilbert R. on flickr)

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