California may be home to plenty of beautiful beach towns, but it's also home to plenty of pollution-belching cars and smog. And as the annual State of the Air report shows, the Golden State, unfortunately, dominates when it comes to awful air quality.
The report, published by the American Lung Association, ranked the most polluted cities using data from the US Environmental Protection Agency on ozone levels and particle pollution. In the ozone category, Los Angeles, CA claimed first, Bakersfield, CA took second, and Visalia, CA came up in third. In case you weren't paying attention, that's a California sweep of the podium, just like last year.
In year-round particle pollution, the list didn't look much different. Bakersfield, CA got first this time, followed by Visalia, CA and Fresno, CA. Good job California. As far as the cleanest cities are concerned, honorable mentions went to Burlington-South Burlington, VT, Elmira-Corning, NY, Honolulu, HI, and Salinas, CA all of which managed to have "no days in the unhealthy level for ozone or short-term particle pollution."
Golden State air quality aside, the State of the Air did find there were overall lower levels of year-round particle pollution and ozone in the US overall. In addition, the report states, "Sixteen of the most-polluted cities had their lowest year-round particle pollution levels in the history of this report." But still, the pollution levels in many cities remain way too high.
Take a look at the list of most polluted cities below, and amend your California dreamin' to include beaches bathed in smog.
Highest Ozone Pollution
10. Fort Collins, CO
9. Las Vegas-Henderson, NV-AZ
8. Denver-Aurora, CO
7. Modesto-Merced, CA
6. Sacramento-Roseville, CA
5. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ
4. Fresno-Madera, CA
3. Visalia-Porterville-Hanford, CA
2. Bakersfield, CA
1. Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA
Highest Year-Round Particle Pollution
10. Louisville/Jefferson County-Elizabethtown-Madison, KY-IN
9. Harrisburg-York-Lebanon, PA
8. Pittsburgh-New Castle-Weirton, PA-OH-WV
6. Modesto-Merced, CA
6. San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA
5. El Centro, CA
4. Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA
3. Fresno-Madera, CA
2. Visalia-Porterville-Hanford, CA
1. Bakersfield, CA
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Kara King is a News Writer at Thrillist and from California. Send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her at @karatillie.