State of the Air: Hawaii boasts some of the best air quality in the nation

State of the Air: Hawaii boasts some of the best air quality in the nation

The American Lung Association’s 2019 “State of the Air” report found that Hawaii has some of the cleanest air in the U.S. and Honolulu and Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina are two of the cleanest areas in the country. Honolulu County had a new record low for an annual average of particle pollution, and less than half the highest ever level recorded in 2009-2011.

Each year the “State of the Air” provides a report card on the two most widespread outdoor air pollutants, ozone pollution, also known as smog, and particle pollution, also called soot. The report analyzes particle pollution in two ways: through average annual particle pollution levels and short-term spikes in particle pollution. Both ozone and particle pollution are dangerous 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.

“People in Hawaii are breathing some of the cleanest air in the nation, but increasing climate change is threatening our air quality,” said Kahala Howser, Executive Director for the American Lung Association in Hawaii. “While we are very happy with this report, Hawaiians must remain vigilant when we have vog episodes. Additionally, more than four in 10 Americans are living with unhealthy air, and we’re heading in the wrong direction when it comes to protecting public health and people’s lives.”

Honolulu had no unhealthy air days for ozone pollution. Nationally, this year’s report showed that ozone levels increased in most cities nationwide, in large part due to the record-breaking global heat experienced in the three years tracked in the report.

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While the report examined data from 2015-2017, this 20th annual report online provides information on air pollution trends back to the first report. Learn more about Hawaii’s rankings, as well as air quality across and the nation, in the 2019 “State of the Air” report at Lung.org/sota. For media interested in speaking with an expert about lung health, healthy air, and threats to air quality, contact Holly Harvey at [email protected] or 206-512-3292.

2019 Cleanest Cities

Cleanest cities in the U.S (on all three categories of cleanest cities described below)

• Bangor, ME
• Burlington-South Burlington, VT
• Honolulu, HI
• Lincoln-Beatrice, NE
• Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL
• Wilmington, NC

Cleanest for Ozone Pollution (zero unhealthy air days – all counties)

• Anchorage, AK
• Bellingham, WA
• Casper, WY
• Fairbanks, AK
• Idaho Falls-Rexburg-Blackfoot, ID
• Honolulu, HI

Cleanest for Short-term Particle Pollution (zero unhealthy air days – all counties)

• Honolulu, HI

Cleanest Cities for Year-Round Particle Pollution (twenty-five cities with the lowest annual levels)

1. Cheyenne, WY (tie)
1. Honolulu, HI (tie)
1. Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, HI (tie)
4. Casper, WY (tie)
4. St. George, UT (tie)
6. Elmira-Corning, NY
7. Duluth, MN-WI (tie)
7. Pueblo-Canon City, CO (tie)
9. Bismarck, ND (tie)
10. Bellingham, WA (tie)
10. Syracuse-Auburn, NY (tie)

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