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FACT BRIEF

Is Nevada one of the most polluted states?

By Todd Butterworth on 03/16/2023

YES

Among the 50 states, Nevada ranked 46th for air and water quality and 49th for pollution, and was rated the worst state overall for its natural environment, according to U.S. News and World Report's 2021 Best States rankings.

Nevada's rate of industrial toxins (3,063 pounds per square mile) was triple the national average (959 pounds per square mile) due to its mining activity.

It also had 177 day with unhealthy air quality, compared to the national average of 104. While Nevada is in the "good" range of the EPA's Air Quality Index overall, its urban areas are highly polluted, receiving "F' grades for ozone and particulate matter from the American Lung Association.

The state did rank slightly above average for drinking water quality, with 1.39 violation points per 100,000 residents compared to the national average of 2.08.

This Fact Brief is responsive to conversations such as this one.

Sources

US News & World Report Nevada

Nevada Current Mining lands Nevada on top of national toxic material report

US Environmental Protection Agency Air Quality Index Report

American Lung Association Report Card: Nevada

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