Seven out of ten dirtiest cities located in California

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Now that California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has announced his plan to become a global green activist, he might want to put on his cape and start cleaning up his own backyard.

Forbes magazine announced its list of the Top 10 Dirtiest Cities, based on the American Lung Association’s report State of the Air 2010, and seven of the top ten, including number one, are in California. The study evaluated air quality by measuring levels of both ozone and particle pollution.

Here’s the list:

1. Bakersfield, Calif.
2. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside, Calif.
3. Fresno-Madera, Calif.
4. Visalia-Porterville, Calif.
5. Hanford-Corcoran, Calif.
6. Phoenix-Mesa, Ariz
7. Birmingham-Hoover-Cullman, Ala.
8. Modesto, Calif.
9. Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Yuba City, Calif./Nev.
10. Pittsburgh-New Castle, Penn.

The culprits for California’s toxic air include emissions from cars, industrial and farming pollution, wildfires, salty coastal air and sunshine that traps pollutants and increase levels of ground-level ozone. Los Angeles, which ranks at number two, is also home to the nation’s busiest port.

The 20 million people who live in these cities are at higher risk of asthma and chronic bronchitis. Additionally, severe particle pollution can damage the lungs in the same way cigarettes do.

Not all is doom and gloom for California though. Voters in the "The Golden State" rejected Prop 23, which would have suspended a state climate change law, and emission cuts are set to begin in 2012.

Robin Lawless | @robmlaw | email
Robin lives in New York City where she loves to check out all the vegan eateries. When she's not writing for TDIV, Robin enjoys taking dance lessons, reading, practicing yoga, hanging out with her cat Maggie, baking vegan treats, and volunteering at Catskill Animal Sanctuary. Feel free to add Robin as a friend on Facebook.

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