Montana Public Radio

Lung Association: Western Montana's Particle Air Pollution Ranks Among Nation's Worst

Apr 21, 2021

Three Montana counties: Lewis & Clark, Ravalli and Lincoln, rank nationally among the 25 counties most polluted by short-term or year-round particle air pollution. That’s according to a new American Lung Association report that says wildfires are the main culprit

The Lung Association’s latest State of the Air report says increased wildfire smoke is endangering Montanans' lives. The report says the city of Missoula is ranked the nation's ninth most-polluted metro area for short term particle pollution, or soot. 

Yellowstone County’s air quality has also degraded in recent years from increased soot. That kind of pollution can lead to lung cancer, asthma attacks, and cardiovascular damage.

The Lung Association says the report’s findings for Montana are consistent with a broader trend of worsening air pollution throughout the western U.S. due to climate change-related heat and drought.