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by Allen J. Sheinman | August 12, 2011

The list

Planners whose attendees might be particularly sensitive to air pollution, take note: The American Lung Association recently released its State of the Air 2011 report, ranking major metropolitan areas in the U.S. for breathability based on air-quality criteria such as ozone pollution, short-term particle pollution and year-round particle pollution. The report also listed the latest available statistics on various health problems suffered by residents that are exacerbated (if not outright caused) by the foul air. Here are the 10 worst (a few are tied), along with latest population figures and the numbers on related illnesses.

10. Modesto (Calif.)
    Population: 510,385
    Adult asthma: 28,322
    Chronic bronchitis: 15,267
    Emphysema: 7,192

10. Louisville-Jefferson County-Elizabethtown-Scottsburg (Ky., Ind.)
    Population: 1,395,634
    Adult asthma: 105,477
    Chronic bronchitis: 46,544
    Emphysema: 23,133

9. Cincinnati-Middleton-Wilmington (Ohio, Ky., Ind.)
    Population: 2,214,954
    Adult asthma: 166,495
    Chronic bronchitis: 72,691
    Emphysema: 35,624

8. Birmingham-Hoover-Cullman (Ala.)
    Population: 1,212,848
    Adult asthma: 70,273
    Chronic bronchitis: 40,311
    Emphysema: 20,201

7. Pittsburgh-New Castle (Pa).
    Population: 2,445,117
    Adult asthma: 174,497
    Chronic bronchitis: 89,288
    Emphysema: 48,733

6. Fresno-Madera (Calif.)
    Population: 1,063,899
    Adult asthma: 58,379
    Chronic bronchitis: 30,977
    Emphysema: 14,213

5. Hanford-Corcoran (Calif.)
    Population: 148,764
    Adult asthma: 8,468
    Chronic bronchitis: 4,221
    Emphysema: 1,721

2. Visalia-Porterville (Calif.)
    Population: 429,688
    Adult asthma: 22,622
    Chronic bronchitis: 11,998
    Emphysema: 5,494

2. Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale (Ariz.)
    Population: 4,364,094
    Adult asthma: 347,250
    Chronic bronchitis: 133,817
    Emphysema: 63,556

2. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside (Calif.)
    Population: 17,820,893
    Adult asthma: 1,030,481
    Chronic bronchitis: 552,457
    Emphysema: 257,170

1. Bakersfield-Delano (Calif.)
    Population: 807,407
    Adult asthma: 43,747
    Chronic bronchitis: 23,012
    Emphysema: 10,309

Source: American Lung Association, lungusa.org