Top 10 U.S. Cities For Clean Air

Breathing clean air is definitely something we take for granted. We couldn’t last more than four minutes without a sufficient amount of oxygen, yet we take more than 21,600 breaths a day without so much as a second thought. Air quality directly contributes to thousands of respiratory illnesses and asthma attacks each year, yet there are scores of industry lobbyists who think it’s outrageous to ask coal -fired power plants to clean up their act.

Just looking for smog isn’t always a good assessment of an area’s air quality. The AirGenius Awards , sponsored by Honeywell, claim to assess the nation’s cities based on specific criteria related to air quality. Ever wondered which states really deliver a breath of fresh air? Check out the top ten cities with high air quality after the fold.

Los Angeles Smog

Image via G&R/Flickr

The top ten U.S. urban areas with the cleanest air are:

1.    Palm Bay/Melbourne/Titusville, Fla.
2.    Cape Coral/Fort Myers, Fla.
3.    North Port-Bradenton/Sarasota, Fla.
4.    Honolulu, Hawaii
5.    Tucson, Ariz.
6.    Colorado Springs, Colo.
7.    Albuquerque, N.M.
8.    Seattle/Tacoma/Bellevue, Wash.
9.    Charleston/North Charleston/Summerville, S.C.
10.  Lakeland/Winter Haven, Fla.

So where can you find the cleanest air in America? In short, the answer is Florida. The awards, evaluated by scientists at the leading consulting firm Environmental Health & Engineering, highlighted six Florida metropolitan areas in the top 25.

“Data on pollen counts, particulate matter and ozone concentrations, public smoking laws, and ‘green’ city rankings for the 100 most populated U.S. cities were used in this assessment,” said Dr. Ted Myatt, ScD, a senior scientist at the leading environmental consulting company Environmental Health & Engineering and Biological Safety Officer at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Massachusetts.  “The results are relevant to city dwellers and homeowners, particularly the elderly, young children, and individuals with allergies or asthma.”

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog