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Find out how Central Florida counties rank in air health

State of the Air 2018 report shows ozone pollution is worsening

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ORLANDO, Fla. – A recently released report details the health of air across the country, including in Central Florida.

Brevard, Flagler, Seminole and Osceola counties all earned an A grade in the State of the Air 2018 report, conducted by the American Lung Association. Orange, Marion and Volusia counties scored B rankings and Lake County was the worst in Central Florida, with a C grade.

The data for the study was collected from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Air Quality System that measures ozone quality. Each county was measured and given a ranking based on the number of high ozone days it experienced between 2014 and 2016.

While Hillsborough County was the only one in Florida to earn an F ranking, the report shows that air quality is worsening overall.

"The State of the Air 2018 report shows that many cities across the nation experienced more days when ground-level ozone, also known as 'smog,' reached unhealthy levels, including most of the cities with the worst ozone problems. Fortunately, most cities continued to reduce their burden of year-round particle pollution, and fewer cities suffered from more spikes in particle pollution, often called 'soot,'" researchers wrote in the report.

Officials estimate that 133.9 million people were exposed to unhealthy levels of air pollution between 2014 to 2016, which is up from the 125 million exposed in the years covered by the 2017 report.

Higher temperatures, emissions from vehicles and other chemicals can cause potentially hazardous ozone levels. Breathing ozone can negatively affect a person's health -- particularly in children and the elderly -- with the potential to cause breathing problems, cardiovascular issues and even premature death.

As far as what the average person can do to cut down on ozone pollution, scientists recommend driving less, using less electricity, not burning wood or trash, and participating in local and national efforts to reduce climate change.

To see the full breakdown of how each Florida county ranked and to read the full report, click here


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