Harris County Earns 'F' for Ozone PollutionContent

The American Lung Association's latest "State of the Air" report finds Houston among the most polluted cities in the nation.

The annual report highlights the risk of allergies, asthma, cardiovascular disease, even diabetes caused in part by the dirty air we breathe. 

“Harris County earned an 'F' in ozone pollution and recorded more unhealthy days,” says JoAnna Strother with the ALA of the Southwest.  “Houston worsened its ranking, moving up three places to 12th on the most polluted cities for ozone.”

“Houston still ranks 16th on the list of cities with the worst annual partical pollution,” she says.  “However, Houston meets the EPA's air quality standard for annual particles and maintained the same level as in last year's report.”

That's good news according to ALA assistant vice president Janice Nolen who says the rankings fluctuate from year-to-year due to weather patterns and influences such as wild fires.

“Harris County had on average 23.3 days of unhealthy are for ozone, but in 1997-99 the weighted average was more than 110 days on average, so its a big improvement,” says Nolen.

Strother agreed, saying the long-term outlook for the Houston region is still good.

“The levels of pollution remained the same, which were its best ever,” she says.  “Harris County levels, which are below the national standard, have declined annually since the report for 2005 through 2007.”

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