Forbes has put out a list evaluating the toxicity of the 40 largest US metropolitan areas. The results may surprise you. Atlanta topped the list for most toxic city, while Las Vegas earned the distinction of being the least toxic. The New York metropolitan area, which is the most populous in the country, also found a spot on the least toxic list.
Forbes explained their methodology:
We counted the number of facilities that reported releasing toxins into the environment, the total pounds of certain toxic chemicals released into the air, water and earth, the days per year that air pollution was above healthy levels, and the total number of Superfund sites--contaminated areas that the federal government has designated for cleanup efforts--in each metro area's principal city.
Forbes also points out that chemical plants and industrial processing outside of the more populated areas contributed greatly to some of the cites' toxicity.
The most toxic cities:
1. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta
4. Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown
7. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana
The least toxic cities:
1. Las Vegas-Paradise
3. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario
4. Austin-Round Rock
6. San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos
7. Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News
8. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara
9. New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island