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HealthBeat

Vancouver-Portland metro area’s dirty air days

People in the Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro metro area had 57 dirty air days in 2015.

The nonprofit Environment Washington Research & Policy Center issued a report – “Our Health at Risk: Why Are Millions of Americans Still Breathing Unhealthy Air?” – that looked at the number of days cities and metro areas had elevated particulate matter pollution.

Elevated smog pollution – pollution that’s above the level the Environmental Protection Agency deems pose “little to no risk” – was recorded at least one day in communities across 49 states. Residents of 34 metro areas experienced more than 100 days with elevated smog pollution.

Seven of the top 10 metro areas with the most elevated days of elevated smog pollution are in California, with Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario the highest (233 days).

Our metro area had 28 days in 2015 with elevated smog pollution. Of those 28 days, 26 days the pollution was “moderate” and two of those days the air was categorized as “unhealthy for sensitive groups.”

The Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue area had 43 days with elevated smog pollution.

That same year, the Vancouver-Portland metro area had 57 days with elevated particulate matter pollution – 53 “moderate” days, two “unhealthy for sensitive groups” days and two “unhealthy” days.

The Seattle area had 137 elevated particulate matter days in 2015.

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at marissa.harshman@columbian.com or 360-735-4546.

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