Despite Improvements, Houston Still Has Some Of The Dirtiest Air In The Country

A new report from the American Lung Association says Houston's air is getting cleaner, but the city still has some of the most polluted air in the country.


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The organization’s State of the Air report ranks Houston as the 7th most polluted city in the nation for smog.

Harris County comes in 10th on the list of counties with the worst air quality. 

The American Lung Association report shows a reduction in year round particle pollution, but the area still has a high number of ozone days. 

Adrian Shelley is with Air Alliance Houston.

“We are issuing, say, 30 to 40 ozone warnings every year, and those are days in which the ozone levels are getting high enough to be of concern to the general public.”

Shelley says one of the main sources of dirty air in Houston is cars, even though vehicle engines are becoming more fuel efficient.

“The volume of vehicles on our roads continues to increase, and that could potentially offset reductions that we get because of fuel efficiency.”

Shelley says there also needs to be tougher requirements for plants and refineries to make sure they’re giving accurate information as to what’s going into the air.

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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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