Northampton County and Lehigh County both got a score of "F" for their levels of ozone in a new report by the American Lung Association.
The association's 2012 "State of the Air" report also found that the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton metro area ranks among the 35 most polluted cities in the nation for ozone and daily and year-round particle pollution.
In this case, "ozone" and "particle pollution" are just another way of saying "smog" and "soot."
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This is the the region failed to meet the ALA's standards for pollution. It has gotten worse when it comes to short-term and long-term particle pollution, the report says.
“State of the Air shows that we’re making steady progress in cutting dangerous pollution from the air as a result of cleanup efforts required under the Clean Air Act," Deb Brown, president and CEO of the American Lung Association of the Mid-Atlantic, said in a news release.
"But millions of Americans across the country, including residents of the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton metro area, are still forced to breathe unhealthy levels of air pollution as a result of air quality standards that are outdated."
Northampton and Lehigh counties are alone in getting "Fs" for ozone level. A majority of Pennsylvania's counties scored the same way.
Only one county -- Cambria -- received a B, the highest grade in the report for Pennsylvania. There were six counties that got a "C" and five that got a "D."
Among the other findings:
- Nearly 10 percent of the Valley's population -- close to 62,000 out of nearly 650,000 -- has asthma.
- 22,248 people have chronic bronchitis.
- 10,914 people have emphysema.
- 181,829 people have cardiovascular disease.