Bakersfield receives 'F' grade for air quality

FILE -- A hazy day is seen in Bakersfield, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX photo, file)

The American Lung Association has released its State of the Air report card.

Bakersfield ranks near the bottom of the list of cities in the United States.

The latest State of the Air report card uses data from the 2013-15 seasons, and Bakersfield received an "F" grade for air pollution due to particle and ozone pollution.

MORE | See full State of the Air report

Bakersfield ranks worst on the list for short-term particle pollution and second only to Los Angeles for ozone pollution. Part of the reason the air quality is so dirty in Bakersfield is because of its geographical location.

"We are in the bottom of the valley," said John Rodger, board member with the American Lung Association. "The air comes comes down, it stagnates here."

Poor air quality plays a significant role in the health of Bakersfield's residents, including increased risks of asthma, lung disease and premature death.

"All of us suffer from the pollutants in the air. The people that suffer the most are the children, the adults with COPD, lung cancer and heart disease," said Rodgers.

Despite the "F" grade, Rodgers said Bakersfield's air has improved over the years.

"We are working hard, the local agencies are doing a good job, the clean air is helping, and people are pitching in," said Rodgers.

The drought has also played in a role in increasing pollutants. With the drought over, pollutants will decrease, and that should reflect in the 2015-2017 air report for next year.

"Things have gotten better. Over the last 18 years, they'll continue to get better," he said. "But the reality is due to various issues, we have poor air quality here."

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