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No breathing easy in Western New York

   From 2005 through 2007, there were 36 days when the air in Erie County had elevated levels of ozone.

   In Niagara County, there were 33 days.

   In Chautauqua County, that number was 49.

   These are some of the numbers in the American Lung Association's "State of the Air 2009" report, released today.

   Ozone, a main contributor to smog and a gas tied to respiratory and other ailments, is one of the two key pollutants assessed in the American Lung Association's annual report, now in its 10th year.

   Western New York again fares poorly in the rating system, our air quality ranking among the worst in the state. Read the full story on the report here.

   The report lists the top 25 cities most polluted by ozone, as well as particle pollution, often called soot.

   Here are the top three from each category:

   1. Los Angeles/Long Beach/Riverside, Calif.

   2. Bakersfield, Calif.

   3. Visalia/Porterville Calif.

   Short-term particle pollution:

   1. Pittsburgh/New Castle, Pa.

   2. Fresno/Madera, Calif.

   3. Bakersfield, Calif.

   Long-term particle pollution:

   1. Bakersfield, Calif.

   2. Pittsburgh/New Castle, Pa.

   3. Los Angeles/Long Beach/Riverside, Calif.

   -- Aaron Besecker


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