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The Top Ten Most Polluted Cities in the United States

High pollution rates, you might be surprised…

america's most toxic polluted citiesForbes magazine ranked the major metropolitan areas of America for pollution based on the number of superfund sites in the city, the number of facilities releasing toxic chemicals, pounds of toxic chemicals released in the area, and the air quality ranking.

Forbes ranked America’s largest 40 metro areas for pollution and we want to know- is your city on the list? Why do you think that is? Are you surprised at the Top Ten? Click here to see the full report, showing the full list of city toxicity.

The Top Ten

Ranked from worst pollution to well, less worse:

  1. Atlanta, GA metro area
  2. Detroit, MI metro area
  3. Houston, TX metro area
  4. Chicago, IL metro area
  5. Philadelphia, PA metro area
  6. Cleveland, OH metro area
  7. Los Angeles, CA metro area
  8. Jacksonville, FL metro area
  9. Portland, OR metro area
  10. Dallas/FTW, TX metro area

TIP: use this list as inspiration for a blog post on your own real estate blog and tell your readers why your city is not on the list or if it is, what can be done to make sure it’s not on the list in 2010, or even discuss what a superfund site is and if your city has them.

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Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.



  1. Tony Sena

    November 3, 2009 at 10:46 am

    Must say I am shocked to see Portland in the top 10!

  2. Matt Thomson

    November 3, 2009 at 10:50 am

    The only one on that list that surprises me is Portland. The other 9 seem to make sense to me. Although I live nearer to Seattle, I’ve always liked Portland a bit better because it felt a little cleaner.
    I guess not!

  3. Ken Brand

    November 3, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    I’d RT and broadcast like a mad man, except Houston sucks. Guess I should pack up and move back to Austin. Love the “less worse”.

    Can’t say much more, I’m holding my breath.


  4. Vance Shutes

    November 3, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    Surprising that Detroit is still on the list, as so much of our auto industry is mothballed, never to spew pollution ever again.

  5. Stephanie Edwards-Musa

    November 3, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    Well, the good news I guess is that… if I am not mistaken…Houston used to be #1.

  6. Portland Condo Auctions

    November 3, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    oh no! How did Portland get on there?! I know that we need to clean up the Willamette river watershed pretty badly, but there is no massive polluter that I can single out in my mind that would put us on this list.


  7. Dan Connolly

    November 3, 2009 at 8:02 pm

    ATLANTA!!!!! No fricken way! We don’t have any industry here.

    It must be all the people eating black eyed peas and cornbread and farting all day.

  8. SteveBeam

    November 3, 2009 at 11:18 pm

    Some of these just do not add up. I don’t agree but I guess the air samples tell the truth.

  9. Brian Block

    November 4, 2009 at 9:41 am

    We may not be polluted in the general meaning of the term, but the D.C. area is probably the most polluted when it comes to “hot air!”

  10. Augusta Real Estate

    November 4, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    Hard to believe my neighbors in Atlanta are number one on the list! Must be the massive traffic. If you have ever sat in the multi-lane parking lot at the “Spaghetti Junction” interchange, then you know what I mean.

  11. Dave

    November 6, 2009 at 6:45 am

    There was another report issued by Forbes in April 2009 and Atlanta and Portland were not even on the lists. See above link.

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