Detroit Evening Report: Detroit area ranked among worst cities in the nation for annual pollution, report shows

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Metro Detroit has some of the worst air particle pollution in the country, according to a new report released Wednesday from the American Lung Association.

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The organization’s 25th annual “State of the Air” report ranked the region as the 13th worst in the nation for the year-round average level of pollution, and gave Detroit area counties failing grades for ozone and both short-term and annual particle pollution.

Metro Detroit ranked 33rd worst in the nation for ozone pollution, and 35th worst in the nation for short-term particle pollution.

“In the 25 years that the American Lung Association has been doing our ‘State of the Air’ report, we have seen incredible improvement in our nation’s air quality. Unfortunately, more than 131 million people still live in places with unhealthy levels of air pollution, and the Detroit metro area is listed as one of the worst places for annual particle pollution,” said Ken Fletcher, director of advocacy for the American Lung Association in Michigan, in a news release. “Climate change is making air pollution more likely to form and more difficult to clean up, so there are actions we can and must take to improve air quality. We are also calling on EPA to set long-overdue stronger national limits on ozone pollution.”

The report includes air quality data from 2020-2022 and is updated to reflect the new annual particle pollution standard that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized in February. Researchers studied exposure to unhealthy levels of ground-level ozone, annual particle pollution and short-term spikes in particle pollution over a three-year period.

Both ozone and particle pollution can cause premature death and other serious health effects such as asthma attacks, heart attacks, strokes, preterm births and impaired cognitive functioning later in life. Particle pollution can also cause lung cancer.

To read the full report, visit

Other headlines for Wednesday, April 24, 2024:

  • A new poll by Gallup shows Black Americans are more concerned about the effect of pollution on their lives than other racial and ethnic groups.
  • An area billboard company has apologized for allowing racist messaging from a group called “White Lives Matter” to slip past its censors and wind up on billboards in Hazel Park, Mount Clemens and Brownstown. 
  • The eyes of football fans across the country will be on Detroit over the next several days as the 2024 NFL Draft takes place downtown, April 25-27. Officials say as many as 300,000 visitors from around the country could take part in the festivities.
  • Traveling around downtown Detroit will be extremely challenging over the next few days because of the draft. Many streets have been closed, including sections of Jefferson and Woodward avenues. If you’re headed downtown, make sure to check your route before you leave. 
  • The National Weather Service has issued a freeze warning for metro Detroit for Wednesday night, with a cold front expected to pass through the area allowing temperatures to drop into the mid-20s overnight. The cold weather will be short-lived, though, and highs will return to the mid-70s by Saturday.

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  • Jerome Vaughn
    Jerome Vaughn is News Director at 101.9 WDET. His interest in news reporting began when he was five years old, after his mom bought him a yellow Panasonic ball and chain radio.