Metro Phoenix's air quality greatly deteriorated over the past year, according to a new study.
An increasing number of Americans - more than 4 in 10 - lives with poor air quality, according to the American Lung Association's 2019 "State of the Air" report.
They say four in 10 Americans live in counties that have air with unhealthy levels of "particle pollution" or ozone.
As it has for the last 19 out of 20 years of the report, Los Angeles remained the most ozone-dense city in the US.
For the second year in a row, Eastern Carolina cities have been ranked among the cleanest in the state when it comes to air quality.
"We have much cleaner vehicles, power plants are doing better, but a lot of this is challenged by the current administration's rollbacks and with climate change, because we have such extreme weather patterns of drought and wildfire and that can add to particle pollution", Nolen said. Lane County experienced a significant increase in unhealthy particle days and received an "F" grade in the report. Both ozone and particle pollution are unsafe to public health and can increase the risk of premature death and other serious health effects such as lung cancer, asthma attacks, cardiovascular damage, and developmental and reproductive harm.
Across the nation, the report found that ozone levels are rising, due in part to warmer temperatures, auto fuels and power plants.
"Ozone especially harms children, older adults and those with asthma and other lung diseases", said Fuchs.
Levels of all three measures increased in 12 U.S. counties, where over 20 million people live in the United States in the last three years.
From 2017 to 2018, Phoenix moved from 20th to 13th nationwide for 24-hour particle pollution and from 50th to 32nd for year-round particle pollution.
The country had been making progress in cleaning up air pollution, but during the Trump administration, it has been backsliding, the report says Deregulation and climate change are largely to blame.
"Particle pollution is made of soot or tiny particles that come from coal-fired power plants, diesel emissions, wildfires and wood-burning devices".