Santa Fe air gets a clean bill of health.

A new air quality report released by the American Lung Association has Santa Fe ranking among the 17 cleanest cities in the U.S. Chaves, Grants, Lea, San Juan and Santa Fe Counties ranked among the top cleanest counties for short term or 24 hour particle pollution, which comes from a variety of sources including dust storms, construction, mining, industrial emissions and vehicle emissons. Even wood burning stoves and agriculture fields put particles into the air that can, according to ALA, damage human health. The annual average level of particles worsened in 12 cities, including Bakersfield, CA--which took over the most polluted ranking from Los Angeles--and Houston, TX which this year moved into the list of the 25 cities most-polluted by particle pollution for the first time.

Fargo-Wahpeton, ND-MN emerged as the cleanest city in the U.S., the only city to appear on all three lists of cleanest cities. Seventeen cities appeared on two of the three lists of cleanest cities: Billings, MT; Bismarck, ND; Cheyenne, WY; Colorado Springs, CO; Farmington, NM; Ft. Collins, CO; Honolulu, HI; Lincoln, NE; Midland-Odessa, TX; Port St. Lucie, FL; Pueblo, CO; Redding, CA; Salinas, CA; San Luis Obispo, CA; Santa Fe-Espanola, NM; Sioux Falls, ND; and Tucson, AZ.

Our own family's anecdotal evidence: after ten days last summer that we spent in Southern California, we were all suffering from various levels of smog-induced discomfort because we're used to Santa Fe's clean air.

If you think you understand pollution, try these two quizzes.