A new report finds that millions of people in Ohio continue to be exposed to excessive amounts of air pollution.
The study, which was published by the advocacy group Environment Ohio, found that Cincinnati ranked among the 10 most populated metro areas with the highest amount of air pollution. In 2016, Cincinnati recorded 119 days with elevated levels of ozone or particulate matter (PM 2.5).
Other Ohio cities, especially in Northeast Ohio, saw elevated air pollution levels for at least a quarter of the year. Cleveland reported 114 days, Canton and Youngstown had 90 days, and Akron had 97 days.
Cleveland also ranked among the most populated cities with high levels of particulate pollution.
Columbus, in contrast, saw only 71 days of elevated air pollution levels.
Campaign organizer Nancy Goodes says population might skew the data, but even smaller cities like Akron still hves room for improvement.
“There’s also places that have higher populations than Akron that do have cleaner air,” Goodes said. “And that includes places like Dayton, and actually, Columbus has 71 bad air days and their population is 2 million.”
Goodes says degraded air quality increases the risk of asthma, other health issues, and premature death.