California Sees Spike in Unhealthy Air Pollution


California Sees Spike in Unhealthy Air Pollution

Published on June 2nd, 2023

According to the American Lung Association’s 2023 “State of the Air” report, air quality has improved nationally, while many western states, including California, are seeing more dramatic short-term spikes in air pollution. 

It’s no secret that over the past several decades, California’s population has swelled to roughly 40 million residents. 

This surging population growth, fueled largely by mass immigration, has created more demand for homes, schools, highways, and businesses; expanding the boundaries of residential areas into preserved forests and natural habitats. This growth has had the dual effect of putting more California residents in the path of wildfires and exposing millions more to air pollution. 

As reported by NBC News

Fewer people in the U.S. are breathing unhealthy air now than a few years ago, but California and other Western states are seeing more dramatic short-term spikes in air pollution, according to a report the American Lung Association released Wednesday.

From 2019 to 2021, nearly 120 million people — around 36% of the U.S. — lived in a place with unhealthy levels of air pollution, the group’s “State of the Air” report found. That’s down from 137 million people from a prior three-year period, 2018 to 2020.

But pollution from events like wildfires has gotten worse, particularly in Western states.

“This year’s report has the highest number of people affected by short-term particles that we’ve ever seen in the history of the report,” said Katherine Pruitt, the report’s author and national senior director for policy at the American Lung Association.

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