LISTEN: Study Gives a Lungful on Florida's Air Quality

TAMPA -- Florida's metro areas have better air quality than in much of the country, but some of the state's biggest metro areas still have issues.

The American Lung Association's 25th annual “State of the Air” report looked at levels of ozone “smog,” the air pollutant affecting the largest number of people in the United States. The Tampa Bay metro area ranked 71st worst in the nation for ozone pollution. The ranking was based on the area’s worst county’s average number of unhealthy days—1.3 days per year, a “C” grade, in Hillsborough County. This was better than the area's ranking in last year's report of 49th worst, with 2.7 days per year, a “D” grade. Tampa Bay ranks 124th for short-term particle spikes, which can be dangerous and even deadly for certain groups.

In Miami and Fort Lauderdale, year-round particle pollution continues to be a major issue. The area fell seven steps from 55th to 48th worst in the nation. Broward County received a failing grade, as the ALA compared pollution levels with a new federal standard updated by the EPA. Miami came in 85th for short-term particle pollution. Ozone or smog is a much reduced problem in South Florida, with the region ranked 116th worst with just three-tenths of one day of unhealthy air in Miami-Dade County.

The Orlando and Jacksonville areas rank among the cleanest cities in the nation for ozone pollution. Orlando ranked 99th and Jacksonville 84th for year-round particle pollution.

Tallahassee ranked among the cleanest for ozone and 166th worst for year-round particle pollution.

To find out more, listen to an interview with Ashley Lyerly below:

Photo: American Lung Association

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