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Top 10 Most Toxic Cities & Top 10 Fittest Cities in the US

Should you be concerned when you walk outside your house and guzzle a deep breath of air, or should you go out for a run like the rest of the local folks do? Find out...
 
 
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Think you live in a pretty green town? While smog levels, health food stores, and the number of treehuggers might seem like legit indicators of toxicity levels, have you ever broken it down and analyzed its Air quality, Water quality, TRI (the EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory- tracking chemicals released in manufacturing), and Superfund sites (abandoned areas that have become overrun by hazardous waste)? No? Not to worry, Forbes Magazine did the dirty work for you and just released their annual Top 10 Most Toxic Cities list.

Here are the cities that sadly made the list and why:

10. Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif.
MSA: Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif.
Number of unhealthy air quality days (2009): 16
Pounds of on-site toxic releases reported (2009): 1.3 million
EWG top water concerns: Total haloacetic acids; nitrates; perchlorate

9. Salt Lake City, Utah
Number of unhealthy air quality days (2009): 15
Pounds of on-site toxic releases reported: 130.4 million
EWG top water concern: Total haloacetic acids

8. St. Louis, Mo.
MSA: St. Louis, Mo./Ill.
Number of unhealthy air quality days (2009): 1
Pounds of on-site toxic releases reported: 22.3 million
EWG top water concern: Total haloacetic acids

7. Houston, Texas
MSA: Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas
Number of unhealthy air quality days (2009): 1
Pounds of on-site toxic releases reported (2009): 54.8 million
EWG top water concern: Alpha particle activity

6. Los Angeles, Calif.
MSA: Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, Calif.
Number of unhealthy air quality days (2009): 14
Pounds of on-site toxic releases reported (2009): 3.8 million
EWG top water concerns: Arsenic; total trihalomethanes; nitrate; total haloacetic acids

5. Baton Rouge, La.
Number of unhealthy air quality days (2009): None
Pounds of on-site toxic releases reported (2009): 33.6 million
EWG top water concern: N/A

4. New York, N.Y.
MSA: New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, N.Y./N.J./Pa.
Number of unhealthy air quality days (2009): 5
Pounds of on-site toxic releases reported (2009): 4.1 million
EWG top water concerns: Total haloacetic acids; dieldrin; total trihalomethanes

3. Fresno, Calif.
Number of unhealthy air quality days (2009): 26
Pounds of on-site toxic releases reported (2009): 338,000
EWG top water concern: Nitrates

2. Bakersfield, Calif.
Number of unhealthy air quality days (2009): 43
Pounds of on-site toxic releases reported (2009): 2.2 million
EWG top water concern: N/A

1. Philadelphia, Pa.
The sprawling Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington MSA, including parts of four states (Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and one county in Maryland), is home to more than 50 Superfund sites, which is what pushed it to the number one toxic spot in the country

TOP 10 FITTEST Cities in the US

Because it’s simply unfair to leave you in such a bummer mood (that is if your city made the cut), here’s Forbes’ list of Top 10 Fittest Cities in the US. Now this is the list that you DO want your city to be on:

10. Austin, Texas
Score: 63.9
Obesity Rate: 22.5%
Exercise Rate: 78.4%
Why? Austin has a more parks and pools per capita, plus the lowest rates of asthma and heart disease.

9. Hartford, Conn.
Score: 64.4
Obesity Rate: 21.1%
Exercise Rate: 77.2%
Why? Hartford has a disproportionate amount of farmers' markets, baseball diamonds and golf courses, plus the locals tend to eat lots of fruits and vegetables.

8. San Francisco, Calif.
Score: 64.7
Obesity Rate: 18.4%
Exercise Rate: 81.5%
Why? Seems that low poverty rate factors in when it comes to lower rates of diabetes, smoking and obesity.

7. Sacramento, Calif.
Score: 65.8
Obesity Rate: 21.4%
Exercise Rate: 82.3%
Why? More people walk and bike to work in Sacramento, in addition to getting more exercise in general, than in other cities.

 
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