LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Breathe easier, Southland: you’re still the most polluted region in America, but you’ve got some competition from other California cities.

The American Lung Association’s annual “State of the Air Report” released Wednesday shows the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside region is the most polluted area for ozone in the nation.

Janice Nolen of the ALA says despite the grim findings, there has been some improvement after Los Angeles came in third on the particle pollution list.

The region ranked among the 10 worst in the nation in three categories of air-quality measurement ozone (smog) pollution, short-term particle pollution and annual particle pollution.

The area was worst in the nation for ozone pollution, and second-worst for annual particle pollution.

“Ozone and particle pollution levels today still contribute to thousands of hospitalizations, emergency room visits and early deaths every year,” according to Dr. Sonal Patel, volunteer physician for the American Lung
Association in California.

The annual “State of the Air” report noted that some cities in California, including Los Angeles, were making notable improvements in reducing air pollution, with enhanced vehicle and fuel regulations playing a major role.

But the poor air quality continues to persist, the report found, citing high emissions from cars, trucks, buses, diesel equipment, oil refineries, manufacturing plants and home fireplaces.

“California has made tremendous improvements in the fight for clean air, thanks to the work of the state’s strong Air Resources Board and local Air Quality Management Districts, but much still needs to be done,” according to Jane Warner, president of the Lung Association in California. “Cleaning up pollution results in healthier air. Now is not the time to stop progress.”

For more information, visit the “State of the Air” website.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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