Denver Flunks Ozone Pollution Rating in new survey by Lung Association

Air quality in Denver improved slightly during the past year, according to the 2016 “State of the Air” report from the American Lung Association. But hold off on organizing the parade.

The city ranked 8th worst nationally for its number of high ozone level days, and, in addition to that F grade, also scored a D for high particle pollutants.

A number of other Front Range counties, including Boulder, Arapahoe, Adams, Jefferson and Douglas also received an F for ozone days. But all those counties received a B for particle pollutants, except Boulder, which received a C.

“The 2016 ‘State of the Air’ report finds unhealthful levels of ozone in Denver, putting our local citizens at risk for premature death and other serious health effects such as asthma attacks and cardiovascular harm,” said Curt Huber, executive director of the American Lung Association in Colorado, in a news release.

Air quality has been a concern in Colorado for decades. A layer of smog and haze, referred to as the 'brown cloud,' hangs over the downtown Denver skyline in this 2007 file photo.

Marc Piscotty / The Rocky Mountain News via Denver Public Library

Air quality has been a concern in Colorado for decades. A layer of smog and haze, referred to as the “brown cloud,” hangs over the downtown Denver skyline in this 2007 file photo.

“Ozone is harmful to public health and especially children, older adults and those with asthma and other lung diseases,” said Huber. “When older adults or children with asthma breathe ozone-polluted air, too often they end up in the doctor’s office, the hospital or the emergency room.”

Particle pollutants are also highly dangerous, he said.

Increased heat, changes in weather patterns, drought and wildfires are all related to climate change, which has contributed to the extraordinarily high numbers of days with unhealthy particle pollution in some cities, including Denver.

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