State of the Air: Greater Salt Lake Gets ‘F’ but Shows Improvement

May 2, 2014

The American Lung Association released its annual report this week on the State of the Air across the country. The results for Utah are mixed.

The Salt Lake City metro area is still among the 10 worst for short term spikes in particle pollution, the dirty soot that hangs in the city during winter temperature inversions. But the metro area - stretching all the way to Provo - was recognized in the report for showing some improvement, moving from number 6 to number 8. The data from 2010 to 2012 does not include this past winter, however, when Salt Lake had more pollution spikes than usual.

When it comes to year-round pollution, none of Utah’s metro areas even showed up in the worst 25. And St George was identified as the fifth cleanest city in the country on that measure.

Utah showed increasing levels of ozone pollution, reflecting a trend across the country, as 2012 was an unusually warm year. The report says that levels of ozone are expected to rise with climate change.

The good news is the air is generally cleaner in Utah and across the country than it was 15 years ago when the American Lung Association began measuring it.