Bad Air Day

Dallas claims dubious distinction of most polluted city in Texas, Houston number two

Dallas ranks as most polluted city in Texas, Houston number two

downtown Houston skyline smog haze pollution
No breathing deeply on days like this in Houston. Forums.AnandTech.com

Big D has finally beat out Houston with a distinction for which we would rather not prevail. Dallas-Fort Worth was recently identified as the most polluted Texas city in terms of ozone, and the 11th worst in the entire country. Houston on the other hand ranked 15th for bad air.

However, The American Lung Association, which looked at data from 2012-2014 to compile its State of the Air 2016 report, notes, "Compared to the 2015 report, Houston has cut ozone significantly. This is in keeping with a trend seen across the nation of lower ozone pollution levels."

How bad is our air in comparison to other cities? According to the report, Houston-The Woodlands was ranked 15th for high ozone days out of 197 cities studied. The area ranked 63rd for 24-hour particle pollution out of 94 metropolitan areas studied and ranked 16th for annual particle pollution out of 171 metropolitan areas.

The air in Los Angeles is the worst for ozone, and Bakersfield, California, has the highest recorded levels of both particle pollutant types.

You can breath deeply in Burlington, Vermont; Elmira-Corning, New York; Honolulu, Hawaii; and Salinas, California, which are ranked as the cleanest, without a single day of unhealthy ozone levels.

The ALA does note, however, that ozone and particle pollution levels have improved overall from last year. Cleaner power plants and increased use of cleaner vehicles and engines have helped greatly, but "a changing climate is making it harder to protect human health."

This comes right after the news that Texas definitely didn't make the cut on WalletHub's list of greenest states.