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Cleveland ranks among nation’s worst metro areas for air pollution-related deaths, illnesses

This 2010 photo from the 10th floor of the MetroHealth Medical Center shows a thick layer of smog hanging over the Cleveland skyline. (Photo courtesy of hazecam.cleveland)

This 2010 photo from the 10th floor of the MetroHealth Medical Center shows a thick layer of smog hanging over the Cleveland skyline. (Photo courtesy of hazecam.cleveland)

CLEVELAND — “The Cleveland area leads the state in the number of deaths and serious health problems caused by air pollution, and ranks ninth worst in the country, according to a new report released today.

The Health of the Air report, compiled by the American Thoracic Society and New York University’s Marron Institute of Urban Management, found that air pollution causes as many as 9,320 deaths each year in metropolitan areas in the U.S.

The number of air pollution-related deaths are comparable to the 9,967 alcohol-related traffic deaths that occurred in the U.S. in 2014.

The Cleveland area suffered an estimated 196 deaths and 487 major health episodes from exceedingly high levels of two air pollutants – ozone and fine particulate matter – the report found.

Residents of the Cleveland area also experienced 231,859 days when air pollution sickened a person to the extent he or she could not go to work or school, or participate in other activities.

The Cleveland area’s ninth place ranking nationally for air pollution-related deaths and serious illnesses was just above the Cincinnati area, which ranked 10th. Four of the worst 10 cities are located in California, which ranked as the most-polluted state in the nation, followed by Pennsylvania, Texas and Ohio.”

— James F McCarty, Cleveland Plain Dealer

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