California had the top five smoggiest metropolitan areas in the country in 2010, according to a report released Wednesday by environmental advocacy organization, Environment California.
Los Angeles-Long Beach was tied for third with Bakersfield, behind smoggiest area Riverside-San Bernardino and second-ranked Visalia-Tulare-Porterville. Fresno was the fifth smoggiest California metropolitan area. In total, the state racked up 110 smog days, or had unhealthy air one day out of every three throughout 2010.
Other cities that made the top 10 list were Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Houston, and Atlanta.
The Environmental California report "Danger in the Air: Unhealthy Air Days in 2010 and 2011," found that during those 110 days smog days in California, parts of the state had smog levels above and beyond the 2010 national health standard and Los Angeles residents had three “red-alert” days. In addition, this past summer, Los Angeles area residents have already witnessed 85 unhealthy air days.
Those most at risk during these days according to the report are children, the elderly and those with respiratory infections.
“Children who grow up in areas with high levels of smog may develop diminished lung capacity, putting them at greater risk of lung disease later in life," the report stated. "Even among healthy adults, repeated exposure to smog pollution over time permanently damages lung tissues, decreases the ability to breathe normally, exacerbates chronic diseases like asthma, and can even cause premature death.”
Congressman Henry Waxman, D-Los Angeles, said in a statement more should to be done to protect against air pollution.
“We have made great strides over the years to achieve clean air, but this new report underscores the urgent need to do more to protect American families from air pollution,” he said.
Assemblywoman , D-Marina del Rey, who is running for office in the newly-formed 50th Assembly District also issued a statement.
“Despite years of fighting to improve the air quality of California, we clearly have a long way to go until we can breathe easier," she said. "Smog pollution is a tremendous threat to public health, increasing health care costs for the state and diminishing our quality of life.”
The report comes just two days before the House of Representatives is set to vote on H.R. 2401, which would delay implementing quality air standards under the Clean Air Act. However, the Obama Administration has stated that the President would likely veto the bill if it were to pass.