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KUER News and RadioWest are bringing you a series of stories and conversations on Utah's air. It's easy to look at the haze on a red air quality day and say that something needs to be done about it. But what? We'll be talking about the roles that individuals, industry and government can play in cleaning up Utah's air quality. We'll also look at what the costs may to be to our economy and our health if we don't.

State of the Air: Greater Salt Lake Gets ‘F’ but Shows Improvement

Creative Commons photo by Tim Brown, Infinite World

The American Lung Association released its annual report this week on the State of the Air across the country. The results for Utah are mixed.

The Salt Lake City metro area is still among the 10 worst for short term spikes in particle pollution, the dirty soot that hangs in the city during winter temperature inversions. But the metro area - stretching all the way to Provo - was recognized in the report for showing some improvement, moving from number 6 to number 8. The data from 2010 to 2012 does not include this past winter, however, when Salt Lake had more pollution spikes than usual.

When it comes to year-round pollution, none of Utah’s metro areas even showed up in the worst 25. And St George was identified as the fifth cleanest city in the country on that measure.

Utah showed increasing levels of ozone pollution, reflecting a trend across the country, as 2012 was an unusually warm year. The report says that levels of ozone are expected to rise with climate change.

The good news is the air is generally cleaner in Utah and across the country than it was 15 years ago when the American Lung Association began measuring it.

Copyright 2014 KUER 90.1

Andrea Smardon is new at KUER, but she has worked in public broadcasting for more than a decade. Most recently, she worked as a reporter and news announcer for WGBH radio. While in Boston, she produced stories for Morning Edition, Marketplace Money, and The World. Her print work was published in The Boston Globe and Boston.com. Prior to that, she worked at Seattleââ