Despite efforts by major cities in the U.S. to clean up air pollution levels, at least 60% of Americans live in areas with unhealthy air pollution levels. Unhealthy air can lead to a poor quality of life, including health problems. In fact, dirty air can lead to emergency room visits, poor lung development in children, and even death in some cases.
If you’re looking to breath in some cleaner air, consider one of these cities, which ranked well on the air quality index and air pollution index on CNN’s Best Places to Live list in 2012.
1. Lake Havasu City, Arizona
The EPA ranks the air quality in Lake Havasu City at 90 on a scale of 100, which is great because the higher the number, the better. This number is based on ozone alert days and the number of pollutants found in the air, all based on EPA reports. This is excellent news for those who come here to retire, hike the beautiful surroundings, or enjoy year-round sunshine.
2. Tucson, Arizona
The ambient air quality in Tucson and the surrounding areas are ranked high by the EPA. There are few pollutants in the air, keeping allergies low. The hot, dry climate is one of the contributors to the excellent air quality. If you’re looking for an alternative to a big city, like Phoenix or Los Angeles, Tucson is a good choice. There’s plenty of industry and a myriad of outdoor activities.
3. Honolulu, Hawaii
In case you need another reason to visit Honolulu, the city ranks well for air quality. In fact, Honolulu ranks third best in the country for air quality. The lack of heavy industry in the area contributes to the clean air. The city has a ranking of 66 by the EPA based on ozone alert days and the pollutants in the air. Clean air makes it easier to enjoy the plentiful sunshine and 80-degree year-round weather.
4. Redding, California
Most people may not think of putting a city in California on the list of places with the best air quality, but considering the size and population, Redding ranks well for good air quality. The EPA gives the city a score of 68 on a scale of 100. The pollution index in Redding is 75% less than that California average and 14% less than the national average for air pollutants.
5. Colorado Springs, CO
Colorado Springs has an air quality index of 88.3%. That’s a bit less than the national average of 89.2%, but still better than the air quality in Denver, just North of Colorado Springs. The Palmer Divide tends to block out most of the smog and pollutants that come from Denver. The pollution index in Colorado Springs is 65.7% less than the Colorado average, making this a good city for those sensitive to allergy pollutants.
How does your city rank by clean air standards?
Photos courtesy of cobalt, christopherdale, ronwls, and michael40001.