Are you breathing clean, healthy air in the Yakima Valley? Not according to the American Lung Associations "State of the Air" report. The association says Washington State has four cities on the top 25 most polluted for short-term particle pollution. Yakima is one of the four cities on the list. The new “State of the Air” report found short-term particle pollution levels landed four Washington cities in the top 25 for worst polluted in this category: (5) Yakima, (11) Spokane-Spokane Valley, (14) Seattle-Tacoma, and (23) Vancouver-Portland. Spokane and Yakima recorded the highest number of days of unhealthy particle pollution levels, mainly due to smoke from wildfires. Carrie Nyssen, senior director of advocacy for the American Lung Association says “Particle pollution remains the dominant air pollutant in our state. “Wildfire smoke and wood stoves are two major contributors to particle pollution (PM 2.5). These particles are so small they easily penetrate deep into the lungs and even into our bloodstream, leading to premature deaths, heart attacks and asthma attacks. Children, older adults and people living with lung disease are particularly vulnerable to poor air quality. More must be done to protect our public health and clean our air.”

A press release from the lung association says the report this year also found that  nationwide, "more than 4 in 10 people (135 million) lived with polluted air, placing their health and lives at risk. The report shows that people of color were 61% more likely to live in a county with unhealthy air than white people, and three times more likely to live in a county that failed all three air quality grades. The report also finds that climate change made air quality worse and harder to clean up."

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