CHARLOTTE — According to a new study, Laurinburg is at the top of the list for having some of the cleanest air in the nation.
The American Lung Association’s 2018 “State of the Air” report found Laurinburg had zero unhealthy air days and was named among the cleanest cities for ozone pollution and short-term particle pollution.
Ozone pollution and particle pollution are two of the most widespread and dangerous air pollutants, said June Deen, a senior vice president with the American Lung Association in North Carolina.
“Breathing these pollutants can cause asthma attacks, respiratory and cardiovascular harm, and even early death,” Deen said. “Breathing particle pollution can also cause lung cancer.”
Fayetteville and Lumberton were also ranked in cleanest cities for short-term particle pollution and experienced zero unhealthy air days. The report gave North Carolina an overall mixed grade for air pollutants.
The data is collected by states, cities, counties, tribes, and federal agencies. It comes from different monitors that are located throughout the state which look at the two biggest air pollutants, ozone pollution and particle pollution. The data is certified through the government and the American Lung Association goes through and creates the “State of the Air” report.
Andrew Batten, an environmental health specialist with Scotland County Health Department, said the area is fortunate to have such clean air and make it on the list since many people don’t even think about the quality of the air.
“Air quality is a real issue in other places, consider some of the bigger cities on the West Coast such as Los Angeles, which is ranked at the top of the most ozone-polluted cities in the U.S.,” Batten said. “Citizens living in cities with poor air quality have to deal with the pollutants on a day-to-day basis.”
Across the nation, the report found continued improvement in air quality, but still, more than four in 10 Americans – 133.9 million – live in counties that have unhealthful levels of either ozone or particle pollution, where their health is at risk.
The trends reported in this year’s report, which covers data collected by states, cities, counties, tribes and federal agencies in 2014-2016, reflect the ongoing challenges to reduce each pollutant in the changing political and outdoor climate.
According to the World Health Organization, a reduction in air pollution would cut the rates of stroke, heart disease, asthma, respiratory disease, and even lung cancer.
For information on the State of the Air and to see other cities ratings, go to www.lung.org/sota.
Reach Katelin Gandee at 910-506-3171