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2012 Santa Fe Cleanest Air in US

According to the American Lung Association's "The State of the Air 2012" report released April 25, 2012, the Santa Fe-Española Metropolitan Statistical Area was the only city in the country to be ranked cleanest in all three categories of pollution measured in the report: short term particle pollution, long-term particle pollution, and ozone pollution.

The association also rated Santa Fe, and Honolulu, as having the cleanest air in its 2011 State of the Air report. Albuquerque was one of fifteen cities ranked as having the cleanest air in both measures of particle pollution for 2012.

"Of all the many best in class rankings and accolades Santa Fe continues to receive, this may be the most important and impressive," said Santa Fe Mayor David Coss. "We will continue to improve our air quality in the future with our clean burning public transportation vehicles, expanding reliance on solar energy, and continuing green initiatives."

The report defines particle pollution as a mix of very tiny solid and liquid particles that come from mechanical and chemical processes. Mechanical processes creating course particles include construction and demolition, mining operations, bacteria, pollen, mold, and agricultural activity. Chemical processes from burning fossil fuels in factories and power plants, steel mills, smelters, diesel and gasoline powered vehicles, and burning wood in fireplaces create the raw ingredients for finer particles.

Ozone is formed when chemical reactions in the atmosphere between raw gases come in contact with heat and sunlight. The ingredients—volatile organic compounds—come out of vehicle tailpipes, smokestacks, and wherever fossil fuels like gasoline, oil, or coal are burned at high-heat, and from evaporating chemicals. They combine in the presence of sunlight and heat to form ozone, the most widespread pollutant in the U.S. according to the report.

For complete details and to download the State of the Air 2012 report, visit the American Lung Association web site,

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