Clark County Earns Poor Ranking in Air Quality Report

LAS VEGAS - Clark County is one of the worst areas in the nation for air pollution according to a new report by the American Lung Association.

The report ranked Las Vegas the 25th most polluted city, mostly because of our unhealthy ozone levels. That's an improvement from a year ago.

Read the Report

"We went from 21 last year down to 25, so there was definitely an improvement," said American Lung Association Director of Policy Amy Beaulieu. "In the last report, we had 22 days of unhealthy levels of ozone, and in this report it was only 12.7 days."

The rankings are based on two areas. The first, and more dangerous, is particulate particles, which are caused by soot, ash and diesel. They can cause heart attacks and strokes. Clark County scored a B grade in that area.

The smog filling our ozone layer, however, resulted in a failing grade. It causes lung damage similar to a sunburn, which can cause wheezing, coughing and asthma attacks.

Experts say weather and geography contribute to Clark County's air problems.

"Las Vegas is really a bowl. We have a major interstate. We have a lot of trucks that pass, and on a windy day like today, we get a lot of the particulates and smog that come over from California," Beaulieu said. "It blows right in, then the wind dies down and it just sits until the next set of wind will blow it out."

Officials with the ALA say Clark County has tough air quality regulations. When Mother Nature's involved, however, there's only so much we can do.


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