Chicago’s ozone pollution (smog) has worsened and the city is now ranked the 22nd most polluted city in the nation, according to the 2018 “State of the Air” report released by the American Lung Association in Greater Chicago today. This is a significant increase, as the city was ranked the 26th most polluted city in last year’s report.

“The 2018 ‘State of the Air’ report finds that unhealthful levels of ozone in Chicago put our citizens at risk for premature death and other serious health effects such as asthma attacks and greater difficulty breathing for those living with a lung disease like COPD,” said Angela Tin, vice president of clean air for the American Lung Association, Upper Midwest Region. “Across the nation, the report found improvement in air quality, but still, more than four in 10 Americans – 133.9 million – live in counties that have unhealthful levels of either ozone or particle pollution, where their health is at risk.”

Each year the “State of the Air” provides a report card on the two most widespread outdoor air pollutants, ozone pollution, also known as smog, and particle pollution, also called soot. The report analyzes particle pollution in two ways: through average annual particle pollution levels and short-term spikes in particle pollution. Both ozone and particle pollution are dangerous to public health and can increase the risk of premature death and other serious health effects such as lung cancer, asthma attacks, cardiovascular damage, and developmental and reproductive harm.

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