Forbes magazine came out a short time ago with its list of the 40 most contaminated metropolitan areas in the U.S. I found few surprises. Atlanta came out worst, followed by Detroit, Houston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Los Angeles.
Of the few surprises, Portland, OR, being high on the list caught me off guard. It is just a couple steps less worse than LA. Austin, TX, being on the list also was a surprise to me. Otherwise, I see the list as being mostly the usual suspects.
Forbes' list considers more than just air quality. It includes in its ranking the number of superfund sites, the pounds of toxins released, and the number of sites releasing toxic chemicals. In fact, there are some interesting comparisons of air quality ranking and overall toxic ranking.
You can read the article and see the full list of their most toxic cities here.
I haven't done this, but it might be interesting to compare the Forbes list with the toxicity map on our web site at ciin.org.
Also, Forbes has maps of other rankings than most toxic. There's Worst Cities For Short-Term Particle Pollution, Worst Cities For Year-Round Particle Pollution, and Worst Cities For Ozone Pollution.