A recent report by the American Lung Association ranked the Philadelphia-Reading-Camden metro area among the top 25 most polluted in the United States in terms of two of the most common, and dangerous, ambient air pollutants measured nationally. But experts say the ranking doesn’t tell the whole story of how air quality affects those in the region.
The Lung Association’s 22nd annual “State of the Air” report, released in mid-April, is based on data gathered from 2017 to 2019 and focuses on two of the six major air pollutants originally identified by the Clean Air Act of 1970. The four-state, 16-county Philadelphia metro area ranked as the 17th most polluted in the nation for its year-round average levels of fine particle pollution (sometimes called soot pollution) and as the 21st most polluted for days with high levels of ozone smog.
Photo Credit: Cris Barrish/WHYY
By Gregory Kolen II. Environmental justice is an issue that affects everyone, but those who bear the brunt of it are often the most vulnerable