* Twenty cities on this year’s list of 25 cities most -polluted by year-round particle levels had cleaner air than last year’s report found. * Air pollution hovers at unhealthy levels in almost every major city, threatening people’s ability to breathe and placing lives at risk. * The most widespread kinds of air pollution are ozone (smog) and particle pollution (soot). Breathing either can harm your body and risk your life. * When inhaled, ozone irritates the lungs, resulting in something like a bad sunburn. * The American Lung Association leads the fight for healthy air every day. We fight for tighter clean air standards, reduced power plant emissions and cleaner diesel fuels and vehicles. * Breathing in particle pollution can increase the risk of early death, heart attacks, strokes and emergency room visits for people with asthma, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. * One in ten people in the United States lives in an area with unhealthy year-round levels of fine particle pollution. * Do you live near, or work on or near a busy highway? Pollution from the traffic may put you at greater risk of harm. * Air pollution remains a real and urgent threat to public health in the US, despite real progress since 1970. * Even with the growing “green movement,” air pollution in some parts of our country actually got worse since last year’s report. * The American Lung Association fought to strengthen the Clean Air Act in 1990. * People who work or exercise outside face increased risk from the effects of air pollution.
The American Lung Association’s 2009 State of the Air report was recently released and sheds light on the quality of air Americans are breathing on a daily basis. The report ranks pollution levels in U.S. cities and counties using levels reported between 2005 and 2007. The air quality measurements are collected regularly in cities and counties across the country and are submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The association based their rankings in the report on ozone pollution levels. However, they also collected data on short and long-term levels of particulate pollution. On a positive note, it was found that Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Charlotte, Washington, D.C. and Baltimore all improved their quality of air.
However, the submitted levels of pollutants led the American Lung Association to declare that sixty percent of all Americans breath unhealthy air where they currently reside. Air pollution levels are at unhealthy levels at one time or another where 186.1 million people live across the country, mainly in cities. The last report found that 125 million Americans lived in such polluted areas. The drastic increase is most likely due to federal ozone standard changes.
The American Lung Association’s Assistant Vice President Janice Nolen stated: “Six out of 10 Americans right now as we speak live in areas where the air can be dirty enough to send people to the emergency room, dirty enough to shape how kids’ lungs develop and even dirty enough to kill.” The varying effects of breathing polluted air include: coughing, heart attacks, lung function decline, lung cancer and even death.
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