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Tulsa, Oklahoma City Among Most Ozone-Polluted Cities In The U.S.

Downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma.

A report out Wednesday morning from the American Lung Association ranks Oklahoma’s two largest cities among the most-polluted in the country.

The 2015 State of the Air report ranked the Tulsa-Muskogee-Bartlesville metropolitan statistical area12th on a list of the 25 most ozone-polluted cities. Also known as smog, it can aggravate pre-existing lung conditions such as asthma.

The Oklahoma City-Shawnee area was ranked 15th. But the report did say Oklahoma City and Tulsa were among some of the cleanest in the nation for particle pollution.

The executive director of the American Lung Association in Oklahoma – Jeremy Hughey – said cleaner diesel fleets and power plants have helped cut year-round particle pollution in central Oklahoma.

Compared to 2014, Oklahoma City cut short-term particle pollution levels. But it did have the same number of days of high ozone, or smog, and the same number of days when year-round particle pollution reached unhealthy levels.

The report says nationwide, more than four in 10 Americans, or roughly 139 million people, live in places where ozone levels make the air unhealthy to breathe.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Brian Hardzinski is from Flower Mound, Texas and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. He began his career at KGOU as a student intern, joining KGOU full time in 2009 as Operations and Public Service Announcement Director. He began regularly hosting Morning Edition in 2014, and became the station's first Digital News Editor in 2015-16. Brian’s work at KGOU has been honored by Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI), the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters, the Oklahoma Associated Press Broadcasters, and local and regional chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists. Brian enjoys competing in triathlons, distance running, playing tennis, and entertaining his rambunctious Boston Terrier, Bucky.
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