Lung Association gives 33 counties failing air grades

The Associated Press
Wednesday May 02, 2001

SACRAMENTO — Thirty-three of California’s 58 counties received failing clean-air grades Tuesday from the American Lung Association in its latest report on air pollution levels. 

The study also said that eight of the 25 smoggiest metropolitan areas in the country are in California and that more than 29 million Californians breathe dirty air. 

“Californians’ health remains threatened by air pollution,” said Robert Fick, a physician who heads the California Thoracic Society, the medical section of the American Lung Association of California. 

The report gave A-to-F grades to counties nationwide based on how many times their air was considered unhealthful by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from 1997 to 1999. 

Figures from those years are the recent accurate data available from the EPA, the Lung Association said. 

Thirty-three California counties received F grades. They are Alameda, Amador, Calaveras, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Fresno, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Nevada, Orange, Placer, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Shasta, Solano, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Tulare, Tuolumne, Ventura and Yolo. 

Nationwide, 382 counties received failing grades, up from 333 in 2000. 

California’s San Bernardino County had the worst county rating in the country, the report said. 

Eight California metropolitan areas – Los Angeles, Bakersfield, Fresno, Visalia-Tulare-Porterville, Sacramento, Merced, San Diego and Redding – were among the 25 most polluted in the country. 

Los Angeles, Bakersfield, Fresno and Visalia-Tulare-Porterville were among the 10 with the dirtiest air. Salinas was among cities with the cleanest, the association said. 

On the Net: Read the report at www.californialung.org