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Air Pollution
Air Pollution in Louisiana

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Louisiana Value:


Average exposure of the general public to particulate matter of 2.5 microns or less, measured in micrograms per cubic meter

Louisiana Rank:


Air Pollution by State

Average exposure of the general public to particulate matter of 2.5 microns or less, measured in micrograms per cubic meter

Air Pollution Trends

Average exposure of the general public to particulate matter of 2.5 microns or less, measured in micrograms per cubic meter

Trend: Air Pollution in Louisiana, United States, 2023 Annual Report

Average exposure of the general public to particulate matter of 2.5 microns or less, measured in micrograms per cubic meter

United States

 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

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About Air Pollution

US Value: 8.6

Top State(s): Hawaii: 4.1

Bottom State(s): California: 13.4

Definition: Average exposure of the general public to particulate matter of 2.5 microns or less, measured in micrograms per cubic meter

Data Source and Years: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2020-2022

Suggested Citation: America's Health Rankings analysis of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, United Health Foundation,, accessed 2023.

Air pollution was responsible for 6.7 million untimely deaths worldwide in 2019. In the United States, fine particle air pollution originating from human activity was responsible for an estimated 107,000 premature deaths in 2011, with an associated cost of $886 billion to society. 

Large particulate matter with a diameter of 10 microns or less (PM10) can cause eye, nose and throat irritation or discomfort when inhaled, while small, fine pollutants (PM2.5) from sources such as auto exhaust, power plants and wildfire smoke can penetrate deep into lung tissue and enter the bloodstream. Exposure to fine particle air pollution has been linked to heart and lung problems, including decreased lung function, asthma, irregular heartbeat and heart attack.

The environment is also affected by air pollution, as particles are carried from one area to another. Examples include increasing acidification in lakes and streams and changing nutrient patterns in soil. Additionally, recent increases in wildfires are causing significant health problems. Researchers have found that wildfire-specific PM2.5 may be more harmful than other types of air pollutants.

Populations that are more susceptible to health risks from air pollution include: 

  • Individuals with preexisting heart and respiratory conditions.
  • Older adults.
  • Children and infants.
  • Pregnant women. 

The following populations, meanwhile, are more likely to be exposed to air pollution:

The health and environmental benefits of lower air pollution are significant. Studies have shown that decreasing the concentration of fine particulates in the air leads to lower risk of all-cause mortality, lung cancer and death from cardiovascular disease. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that the Clean Air Act prevented an estimated 200,000 heart attacks, 2.4 million asthma attacks and 17 million lost workdays in 2020. 

Policies that reduce oil and gas emissions have significant health benefits. The EPA recently proposed amendments to the Clean Air Act that would save an estimated $4.5 billion a year and reduce toxic air pollutants by 480,000 tons. The proposed rule requires states to develop their own plans to reduce methane emissions from existing oil and gas sources with the involvement of the communities most impacted by air pollution. This will help protect overburdened communities that live near air pollution sources, such as factories and major roadways. 

Individuals can reduce their contribution to air pollution by decreasing fossil fuel consumption or taking part in local energy conservation programs. Individuals can try to limit their exposure to air pollution by:

  • Monitoring local air quality at and staying indoors as much as possible on days with poor air quality. 
  • Avoiding long periods of strenuous exercise near busy streets and on days with poor air quality.
  • Using an air purifier in your home or office space to filter out particles from the outdoors.

Healthy People 2030 has multiple objectives focused on promoting healthier environments, including: 

  • Reducing the number of days people are exposed to unhealthy air. 
  • Reducing toxic airborne emissions.
  • Increasing the use of public transportation among commuters.

Aguilera, Rosana, Thomas Corringham, Alexander Gershunov, and Tarik Benmarhnia. “Wildfire Smoke Impacts Respiratory Health More than Fine Particles from Other Sources: Observational Evidence from Southern California.” Nature Communications 12, no. 1 (March 5, 2021): 1493.

Fuller, Richard, Philip J. Landrigan, Kalpana Balakrishnan, Glynda Bathan, Stephan Bose-O’Reilly, Michael Brauer, Jack Caravanos, et al. “Pollution and Health: A Progress Update.” The Lancet Planetary Health 6, no. 6 (June 2022): e535–47.

Goodkind, Andrew L., Christopher W. Tessum, Jay S. Coggins, Jason D. Hill, and Julian D. Marshall. “Fine-Scale Damage Estimates of Particulate Matter Air Pollution Reveal Opportunities for Location-Specific Mitigation of Emissions.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 116, no. 18 (April 30, 2019): 8775–80.

Jbaily, Abdulrahman, Xiaodan Zhou, Jie Liu, Ting-Hwan Lee, Leila Kamareddine, Stéphane Verguet, and Francesca Dominici. “Air Pollution Exposure Disparities across US Population and Income Groups.” Nature 601, no. 7892 (January 13, 2022): 228–33.

Pope III, C. Arden, Majid Ezzati, and Douglas W. Dockery. “Fine-Particulate Air Pollution and Life Expectancy in the United States.” New England Journal of Medicine 360, no. 4 (January 22, 2009): 376–86.

Strosnider, Heather, Caitlin Kennedy, Michele Monti, and Fuyuen Yip. “Rural and Urban Differences in Air Quality, 2008–2012, and Community Drinking Water Quality, 2010–2015 — United States.” MMWR. Surveillance Summaries 66, no. 13 (June 23, 2017): 1–10.

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