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'State of the Air' report shows mixed progress for Buffalo, other metros areas across New York State

All metro areas across the state worsened when it comes to year-round particle pollution.
Credit: WGRZ

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The American Lung Association's "State of the Air" reports shows some progress and some setbacks when it comes to air pollution in New York State.

The findings show that Buffalo and all major metro areas in the state had worsened year-round particle pollution levels, but also recorded fewer unhealthy days for ozone pollution.

“New York State has been plagued by harmful air pollutants for decades. The American Lung Association’s 2021 “State of the Air” report shows that while long-term trends show great progress, there is still significant work to be done,” said American Lung Association Director for Advocacy in New York Trevor Summerfield. 

Across the state, 3.8 million people live with lung diseases like asthma, COPD and lung cancer and are already at risk making them more vulnerable to the effects of air pollution.

“Not only did this year’s report show worsened year-round particle pollution for several metro areas, but it reinforced what we already know: that people of color are significantly more likely to breathe polluted air. Our elected officials must take bold action now recognizing climate change, and its impact on worsened air pollution, as a serious public health concern.”

Erie and Niagara counties had improved grades for ozone levels. Erie County went from a D rating to a C, and Niagara County improved from a C to B.

Erie and Cattaraugus counties measured improved year-round particle pollution, while Allegany County worsened. All other Western New York counties did not measure this data.

The Lung Association’s annual air quality “report card” tracks and grades Americans’ exposure to unhealthy levels of particle pollution (soot) and ozone (smog) over a three-year period. This year’s report covers 2017-2019.