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Philadelphia Named America’s Most Toxic City

Philadelphia Named America’s Most Toxic City

Americans seeking healthy cities to call home should avoid Philadelphia like a toxic waste dump.

According to an assessment by, the colonial heart of America is the most toxic city in the country, followed by a pair of California cities, Bakersfield and Fresno, in that order.

The study took five gauges of toxicity into account: two air quality measures, a water quality grade, the number of Superfund hazardous waste sites and a count of toxic releases reported to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Thanks in large part to more than 50 Superfund sites in its sprawling metropolitan area, Philadelphia took home the dubious top honors. The city also had the worst rating in the nation for water quality.

Many of the toxic chemicals driving the poor rankings have been linked with cancer and other illnesses, as well as birth defects.

Bakersfield and Fresno — along with Los Angeles, which was rated the 6th most toxic city — were mostly done in by air quality. While most cities don’t have a single day each year with an an EPA air quality index above 100, the above cities had 43, 29 and 14 such days, respectively.

Some of the nation’s largest cities were featured on the list: in addition to Los Angeles, New York City (4th) and Houston (7th) also appeared. Rounding out the top ten were Baton Rouge, La., (5th) St. Louis (8th), Salt Lake City (9th), and Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif., (10th).


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