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Here Are The 10 Dirtiest Counties In Virginia

It’s hard to watch the news or read the papers these days without some mention of the environment – from global warming to the effects of air pollution on our health and safety. The recent scandal at Volkswagen only reinforces the need for continued vigilance around our choices and efforts to ensure a safe future for our planet.

In order to look at the current state of Virginia with regards to air quality, we turned to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Environmental Public Health Tracking Report. Using their latest data set from 2011, the CDC calculated seasonal averages and daily measurements throughout the state to determine which counties had the highest levels of fine particulate matter per cubic meter or PM2.5. According to County Health Rankings, another online resource for national health statistics, evidence continues to show that elevated air pollution can lead serious health conditions, including decreased lung function, chronic bronchitis, asthma, and other pulmonary diseases and dysfunctions. 

It’s easy to assume that the areas with the highest population densities will have the highest levels of pollution. And while that is true at times, we also find that when it comes to particulate matter pollution, a number of factors are at play. This type of air pollution can occur due to factors like forest fires, factory emissions, car emissions and gases, etc. With that in mind, here at the Virginia counties and/or cities that showed the highest levels of air pollution.

What did you think of these results? Did any of them surprise you? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Anna Strock
Virginia staff writer for Only in Your State, freelance writer and journalist. Even though Anna has lived other places, somehow Virginia is where she always seems to land.