July 2005 was truly breathtaking when it comes to smog. Our informal survey found that the national health standard was breached nearly 1,000 times during the month (compared to about 600 a year ago) in 36 states, including such normally "clean" states as Oregon, Minnesota, Iowa and Florida.
Yes, hot weather is a factor, of course. (Similarly, the totals in 2004 were low because the weather was unusually cool and rainy.) But these are sobering statistics. We can hardly rely on rain to bail us out of our smog problems -- especially since the climate is heating up because of human activities.
Here is the list of states that experienced unhealthful levels of smog during July 2005: