Several Pennsylvania cities place among the top 25 most polluted in the U.S., according to the American Lung Association, which uses data from the Environmental Protection Agency.
And many Pennsylvania counties, too, fare poorly in ALA ratings on ozone and particle pollution. Of 36 counties for which the organization had data, 16 received a grade of D or F for ozone levels. Of 25 counties with data, nine received a D or F for particle pollution.
The rise in use of natural gas over coal has contributed to a decrease in particulate matter in Pennsylvania’s air. A 2015 report by the United Health Foundation, using EPA data, showed that the state’s air pollution — measured by the public’s exposure to particulate matter — decreased each year but one since 2003.
However, in that report, Pennsylvania still ranked 48th in air quality in the U.S.
Fewer cars, less coal-powered electricity, and industrial shutdowns combined with a cool and breezy spring has improved air quality in many areas.
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Pennsylvania areas showed some improvement in the report, but air quality in the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh areas remains poor.