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color chart

  1. What do the colors mean? 
    They are from the Air Quality Index, shown here. We compare the monitored data against the Air Quality Index, a color-coded scale that EPA developed to help the public understand daily air pollution forecasts and protect themselves. Each color provides a specific warning about the risk associated with air pollution in that range. Learn more about the Air Quality Index.
  2. How do we calculate the grades? 
    In our analysis of ozone and short-term levels of particle pollution, we assign increasing weights to the days when air pollution levels reach the higher ranges to calculate our grades. We add those together and calculate the weighted average, then assign grades based on that weighted average. For year-round levels of particle pollution, we use annual average levels calculated by EPA. For more details, view our methodology.
  3. What does DNC mean? 
    DNC means "Data Not Collected." Most counties don't have monitors. The state and EPA decide where to place monitors. Monitors are located in less than 1,000 of the 3,068 counties in the United States. Counties where the grade shows "DNC" are counties where no monitors exist to collect information about that pollutant.
  4. What does INC mean? 
    INC means "Incomplete." A county needs three years of data to adequately compare levels of pollution with national standards.  If the county lacks three years of data, then the information is listed as "incomplete."
  5. How can I improve my county's grade? 
    Drive less. Use less electricity. Don't burn wood or trash.  Support measures in your community that can cut air pollution. Tell your local and state officials to take steps to clean up air pollution. Send a message to Congress to tell them we need them to support cleaner, healthier air.

Did You Know?

  1. More than 4 out of 10 people live where the air they breathe earned an F in State of the Air 2019.
  2. More than 141.1 million people live in counties that received an F for either ozone or particle pollution in State of the Air 2019.
  3. More than 20.1 million people live in counties that got an F for all three air pollution measures in State of the Air 2019.
  4. Breathing ozone irritates the lungs, resulting in something like a bad sunburn within the lungs.
  5. Breathing in particle pollution can increase the risk of lung cancer, according to the World Health Organization.
  6. Particle pollution can also cause early death and heart attacks, strokes and emergency room visits for people with asthma, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
  7. Particles are smaller than 1/30th the diameter of a human hair. When you inhale them, they are small enough to get past the body's natural defenses.
  8. Ozone and particle pollution are both linked to increased risk of lower birth weight in newborns.
  9. Do you live near, or work on or near a busy highway? Pollution from the traffic may put you at greater risk of harm.
  10. People who work or exercise outside face increased risk from the effects of air pollution.
  11. Millions of people are especially vulnerable to the effects of air pollution, including infants, older adults and people with lung diseases like asthma.
  12. People of color and those earning lower incomes are often disproportionately affected by air pollution that put them at higher risk for illnesses.
  13. Air pollution is a serious health threat. It can trigger asthma attacks, harm lung development in children, and can even be deadly.
  14. You can protect your family by checking the air quality forecasts in your community and avoiding exercising or working outdoors when the unhealthy air is expected.
  15. Climate change enhances conditions for ozone to form and makes it harder to keep ozone from forming.
  16. Climate change increases the risk of wildfires that spread particle pollution and ozone in the smoke.
  17. This Administration is trying to rollback or create loopholes in core healthy air protections under the Clean Air Act. The Lung Association opposes these actions that will add pollution to the air we breathe.
  18. Cutting air pollution through the Clean Air Act will prevent at least 230,000 deaths and save $2 trillion annually by 2020.
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