The State of Clark County Air

The American Lung Association this week released its annual State of the Air report, and the Clark County received a mixed report.

The report looks at the levels of ozone pollution – often called “smog” — and particle pollution — a mix of very tiny solid and liquid particles that are in the air we breathe — in cities, counties and metro areas across the country.

Clark County received an “A” for ozone pollution with zero orange (unhealthy for sensitive populations), red (unhealthy) or purple (very unhealthy) ozone days.

(That color-coded scale – called the Air Quality Index – was created by the Environmental Protection Agency to help public understand daily air pollution forecasts.)

But when it comes to 24-hour particle pollution, Clark County received a “D” grade due to its seven orange ozone days.

For metro areas, the Portland-Vancouver area ranked 163rd for high ozone days out of 220 metropolitan areas.

The worst metro areas for ozone pollution are:

  1. Los Angeles-Long Beach, Calif.
  2. Visalia-Porterville-Hanford, Calif.
  3. Bakersfield, Calif.
  4. Fresno-Madera, Calif.
  5. Sacramento-Roseville, Calif.
  6. Houston-The Woodlands, Texas
  7. Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas-Okla.
  8. Modesto-Merced, Calif.
  9. Las Vegas-Henderson, Nev.-Ariz.
  10. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz.

For 24-hour particle pollution, our metro area ranked 28th out of 220 metropolitan areas. That’s still considerably better than the handful of California metro areas that took the top six spots.

The most cities with the highest 24-hour particle pollution are:

  1. Fresno-Madera, Calif.
  2. Bakersfield, Calif.
  3. Visalia-Porterville-Hanford, Calif.
  4. Modesto-Merced, Calif.
  5. Los Angeles-Long Beach, Calif.
  6. San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, Calif.
  7. Salt Lake City-Provo-Orem, Utah
  8. Logan, Utah-Idaho
  9. Fairbanks, Alaska
  10. Pittsburgh-New Castle-Weirton, Penn.-Ohio-West Va.

For more, check out the complete report at

Marissa Harshman

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 or 360-735-4546.

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