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The American Lung Association released its annual report card and Placer County, along with a majority of California, did not score well. The report found that a majority of California counties received a failing grade for air quality, with many in Northern California sitting near the bottom of the list.
Five Northern California counties received an F grade from the lung association in terms of ozone, including El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Sutter and Sacramento. Yolo County passed with a C grade.
Despite the region’s dim results, Sacramento’s air quality has improved significantly, with unhealthy ozone days dropping from almost three months a year to one month.
Placer County had an ozone weighted average of 18.8 which was calculated by averaging the number of days Placer County received ozone ratings in the purple, red and orange quality levels. Placer was in the orange rating 49 times, red only 5 times and received a purple rating 0 times.
Also, Placer County received a 7.8 design value for particle pollution. So, despite receiving a “F” rating, Placer received a “PASS” in the same category because its design value was lower than the annual average National Ambient Air Quality Standard for PM2.5 which is 12 µg/m3.
Los Angeles, Bakersfield and Visalia metropolitan areas top the list of the most polluted areas in the country for ozone and particle pollution.
California cities are seeing spikes in particle pollution, which can be attributed in part to 2016’s active wildfire season, droughts, heat waves and warming temperatures.
The San Joaquin Valley is home to the four most particle-polluted cities in the United States, according to the report.
More than 35 million Californians live in counties affected by unhealthy air during the year, which equates to 91 percent of California’s population at risk for health emergencies.
Children and people over the age of 65 are the most at risk of having serious health issues like asthma attacks and other lung diseases.