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Air Quality Report Shows Progress, Challenges

When it comes to air pollution in Southern California, there's good news and bad news.

Aired 4/25/13 on KPBS News.

According to the American Lung Association's 2013 Report on Air Quality released Tuesday, pollution throughout California ranges from terrible to not so bad. Despite some progress in cities such as San Diego, Southern California still sits atop the list as having the worst air in America.

Dust controls attempt to curb air pollution in Imperial County, Calif.
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Above: Dust controls attempt to curb air pollution in Imperial County, Calif.

According to the American Lung Association's 2013 Report on Air Quality released Tuesday, pollution throughout California ranges from terrible to not so bad. Despite some progress in cities such as San Diego, Southern California still sits atop the list as having the worst air in America.

San Diego dropped from seventh to eleventh in the nation for ozone pollution. Short-term particle pollution in San Diego also dropped: five spots from 18th in the US to 23rd.

While many cities across the state have dropped in most-polluted rankings, others, such as Los Angeles, Bakersfield and Fresno, have again claimed the top spots on lists of ozone pollution and short-term particle pollution.

The American Lung Association has released a yearly report card on air quality across America for the past 14 years. Leaders of the organization said in a news release that air quality has largely gotten better each year but that there are still plenty of challenges to tackle.

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State of the Air 2013

State of the Air 2013

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"We are happy to report that the state of our air is much cleaner today than when we started the 'State of the Air' report 14 years ago," said Harold Wimmer, national president and CEO of the American Lung Association, in a news release. "Even in parts of the country that experienced increases in unhealthy days of high ozone and short-term particle pollution, they still have better air quality compared to a decade ago."

According to the report, the cleanest air in the US can be found in Bismarck, North Dakota; Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla.; Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, Fla.; and Rapid City, South Dakota.

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