Cooler temperatures this spring have delayed the inevitable bad air typical of Sacramento's warmer days. But soon we'll see the return of air pollution that affects everyone, but particularly those with certain respiratory ailments.
You can see how Sacramento's air quality compares to other metropolitan areas in the 2010 State of the Air report, recently published by the American Lung Association. The greater Sacramento region, according to the study, is among the most polluted areas in the country. It ranks fifth in ozone pollution and sixth in short-term (24-hour) particle pollution. (Los Angeles and Bakersfield are first, respectively.)
The full text of the report (available free online) contains county-level statistics on pollution levels and at-risk groups. Sacramento County (p. 53) gets a grade "F" for both the number of high ozone and high particle pollution days. The county is also home to a sizable population of people suffering from chronic health problems (diabetes, lung and cardio-vascular dieseases) that make them especially vunerable to airborne pollutants (p. 54).