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Best & Worst Cities for Ozone Pollution

Best & Worst Cities for Ozone Pollution Infographic

This information has been reviewed and approved by Anthony Gerber, MD, PhD (June 2023).

Summary: Best and Worst Cities for Ozone Pollution

Cleanest Cities by Ozone

  1. Albany-Schenectady, NY
  2. Asheville-Marion-Brevard, NC
  3. Bangor, ME
  4. Bellingham, WA
  5. Blacksburg-Christiansburg, VA
  6. Bowling Green-Glasgow, KY
  7. Brownsville-Harlingen-Raymondville, TX
  8. Brunswick, GA
  9. Burlington-South Burlington-Barre, VT
  10. Charleston-Huntington-Ashland, WV-OH-KY
  11. Charlottesville, VA
  12. Clarksville, TN-KY
  13. Cleveland-Indianola, MS
  14. Columbia-Moberly-Mexico, MO
  15. Columbus-Auburn-Opelika, GA-AL
  16. Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin, FL
  17. Decatur, IL
  18. Des Moines-Ames-West Des Moines, IA
  19. Duluth, MN-WI
  20. Eau Claire-Menomonie, WI
  21. Elmira-Corning, NY
  22. Erie-Meadville, PA
  23. Fairbanks, AK
  24. Fayetteville-Sanford-Lumberton, NC
  25. Flagstaff, AZ

Worst Cities for Ozone      

  1. Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA
  2. Visalia, CA
  3. Bakersfield, CA
  4. Fresno-Madera-Hanford, CA
  5. Phoenix-Mesa, AZ
  6. Denver-Aurora, CO
  7. Sacramento-Roseville, CA
  8. San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, CA
  9. Houston-The Woodlands, TX
  10. Salt Lake City-Provo-Orem, UT
  11. San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA
  12. New York-Newark, NY-NJ-CT-PA
  13. El Centro, CA
  14. El Paso-Las Cruces, TX-NM
  15. Fort Collins, CO
  16. Las Vegas-Henderson, NV
  17. Chicago-Naperville, IL-IN-WI
  18. Dallas-Fort Worth, TX-OK
  19. Reno-Carson City-Fernley, NV
  20. Colorado Springs, CO
  21. San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles, CA
  22. Redding-Red Bluff, CA
  23. San Antonio-New Braunfels-Pearsall, TX
  24. Albuquerque-Santa Fe-Las Vegas, NM
  25. Hartford-East Hartford, CT
Source: American Lung Association 2023


What is Ozone Pollution?

Bad or ground-level ozone pollution is created when vehicle and other emissions mix with pollutants and are heated by the sun. Warmer weather increases ground-level ozone pollution.

What Makes Air Quality Unhealthy?

The Air Quality Index (AQI) grades air quality based on ground-level ozone, particle pollution, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide or nitrogen dioxide levels. Visit or watch local alerts.

Protect Your Lungs from Ozone Pollution

  • Watch local air quality advisories.
  • Ozone levels are always lower in the morning, so plan outdoor activities accordingly.
  • The elderly, the very young and those with lung disease are at the highest risk from severe ozone pollution and should limit afternoon outdoor time during poor ozone days
  • Keep windows closed.
  • Take medications exactly as prescribed.
  • Use the circulate setting on your home thermostat to keep polluted air out.
  • Call your doctor if symptoms increase or if you need more medication.

Facemasks are highly encouraged to limit COVID-19 infection but provide no protection against ozone pollution.


More Information on Pollution

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