The Fairbanks area has the worst fine particulate pollution in the United States according to the American Lung Association.
The national non-profit released its annual State of the Air Report last Wednesday, and Fairbanks tops the list for year-round fine particulate pollution. The community ranked 17th last year, and Rick Hinkey, with the American Lung Association in Fairbanks, attributes the area’s movement to the top of the list to more accurate air quality monitoring.
”It’s good news and bad news kinda wrapped in the same coin,” Hinkey said. “Because good news, we have better data, we had more accurate information. Bad news is it’s been worse than we realized.”
The assessment is based on local air quality monitoring in the Fairbanks North Pole area for the years 2014 through 2016. Hinkey says the three-year average which reflects emissions from wintertime wood, coal and oil burning, as well as wildfire smoke, moves the community ahead of large cities in California for year-round PM 2.5 pollution. Fairbanks ranks 4th on the ALA’s list in terms of short term fine particulate pollution.