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### Top Polluted US Cities of 2023 Revealed by Air Quality Research

These were the most contaminated cities in the United States in 2023, according to an air quality study.

During the summer of 2023, air quality became a significant concern nationwide as many cities and even entire states were enveloped in [image]pollution[/image]. This smoky phenomenon potentially propelled certain U.S. cities to rank among the world’s most polluted areas.

In a recent study, IQAir evaluated over 7,800 locations globally using data from numerous air quality monitoring stations. Despite the U.S. ranking relatively low in air pollution compared to 134 countries, certain cities within the nation exhibited alarming levels of pollution. For instance, Bangladesh was identified as the most polluted country with an annual PM2.5 concentration of 79.9 µg/m3, significantly exceeding the World Health Organization’s guideline of 5 µg/m3.

PM2.5, fine particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 microns or less, primarily originates from the combustion of gasoline, oil, diesel fuel, or wood, as stated by the California Air Resources Board. These particles can penetrate deep into the lungs, leading to tissue damage and inflammation. Short-term exposure to PM2.5 has been associated with various health issues such as premature death, bronchitis, asthma attacks, and cardiovascular problems.

IQAir’s annual report highlighted that regions like the Upper Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states were severely impacted by smoke drifting south from extensive wildfires in Canada. For instance, Milwaukee experienced a 51% increase in its annual average PM2.5 between 2022 and 2023 due to the smoke.

Among the largest U.S. cities, Columbus, Ohio, stood out as the most polluted for the second consecutive year, with an annual PM2.5 of 14.2 µg/m3. However, other cities like Coraopolis near Pittsburgh recorded even higher pollution levels, reaching an annual average PM2.5 of 19.3 µg/m3, nearly four times above the WHO guideline.

The following U.S. cities reported the highest average air pollution levels in 2023, according to IQAir:

  1. Coraopolis, Pennsylvania: 19.3 µg/m3
  2. Forest Park, Georgia: 17.6 µg/m3
  3. Cave Junction, Oregon: 17.1 µg/m3
  4. Happy Camp, California: 16.8 µg/m3
  5. Adrian, Michigan: 16.6 µg/m3
  6. Claymont, Delaware: 16.5 µg/m3
  7. Robesonia, Pennsylvania: 16.3 µg/m3
  8. Attleboro, Massachusetts: 15.8 µg/m3
  9. Elwood, Illinois: 15.6 µg/m3
  10. Huntington, Indiana: 15.5 µg/m3

Conversely, due to a milder wildfire season, cities on the West Coast like Portland and Seattle witnessed significant improvements in air quality, with over a 35% decrease in their annual average PM2.5 levels.

For those seeking cleaner air, destinations in Hawaii, Alaska, and the Western U.S. proved to have the least pollution in 2023. Cities like Las Vegas, Oroville East in California, and Wilson in Wyoming reported notably low PM2.5 levels.

In conclusion, efforts to address air pollution remain crucial for public health and environmental sustainability. For detailed information on air quality rankings, refer to [image]IQAir’s report[/image].

(Information source: Nexstar Media Inc.)