The region dropped to No. 4 in short-term particle pollution and No. 3 in annual particle pollution. Meanwhile, the Bakersfield-Delano area ranked as No. 1 in both short-term and annual particle pollution.
The report also noted that air quality statewide was at its best levels since 1999.
"This report shows that air pollution remains a serious health threat to too many Californians," said Jane Warner, president and chief executive of the California chapter of the ALA. "State of the Air 2012 shows that we're making real and steady progress in the fight for clean air, but unhealthy levels of air pollution still exist, putting the health of millions of Californians at risk. Much still needs to be done, and now is not the time to stop progress."
Ozone pollution in the Los Angeles region remained the worst in the nation, but there has been a 40 percent decrease in annual levels of particle pollution along with a 53 percent decrease in the number of days for short-term particle pollution.
The ALA said that despite improvements in the air quality in the Golden State, more than 90 percent of Californians live in counties with unhealthy air, particularly in the Central Valley, Los Angeles, Inland Empire, Sacramento, and San Diego.
"Ozone and particle pollution contribute to thousands of hospitalizations, emergency room visits, and deaths every year," said Dr. Kari Nadeau, a Stanford Medical School professor and American Lung Association researcher. "Air pollution can stunt the lung development of children, and cause health emergencies, especially for people suffering from chronic lung disease, including asthma, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema. Both long-term and short-term exposures can result in serious health impacts."
City News Service contributed to this report.