We’re number one

L.A., Orange and Riverside counties were collectively ranked as the #1 worst smog polluted area in the United States, according to a report published today by the American Lung Association.

The report gave 28 of California’s 58 counties failing marks for air quality. Although nine counties improved their grades, the ALA said 33 million of the state’s 35 million people are breathing dirty air. That number is up by nearly 4 million people from last year’s report.

However, on the bright side…

Some experts cautioned that the report is based on deceptive methodology that can give failing grades for entire regions based on a few air monitoring stations that register violations, while others in the area record safe smog levels.

It’s incredibly misleading to tell people breathing clean air that they’re in danger,” said Joel Schwartz, a senior fellow at the nonpartisan Reason Public Policy Institute. “The report’s been the same every year. It exaggerates air pollution levels and exaggerates risks each year.”

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