Utah Air Quality report card: A lot of 'F' grades

The "State of the Air" 2019 report shows that too many cities across the nation increased the number of days when particle pollution, often called "soot," soared to often record-breaking levels.

More cities suffered from higher numbers of days when ground-level ozone, also known as "smog," reached unhealthy levels. Many cities saw their year-round levels of particle pollution increase as well.

Surprise, Surprise (note sarcasm) the Wasatch Front was among the top 10 worst places for short-term air pollution in the country, putting the health of millions of people in the region at risk.

Salt Lake City, Provo and Orem ranked No. 8 of metropolitan areas affected by pollution during a certain time period.

During parts of the year, about 2.6 million people in the Salt Lake Valley could see their health decline because of the high levels of particles in the air and another 138,000 around Logan. Most affected, the report says, are those under age 18, older than 65, and those who have asthma, cancer, diabetes, another disease or live in poverty.

The "State of the Air" 2019 report adds to the evidence that a changing climate is making it harder to protect human health. The three years covered in this report ranked as the hottest years on record globally. High ozone days and spikes in particle pollution zoomed, putting millions more people at risk and adding challenges to the work cities are doing across the nation to clean up.

Until our Governor and Utah legislature take our air quality problem seriously enough to do the hard work required to get us to a baseline of clean air, we should not be surprised by our dirty air.