Air Improves, But Remains Bad, in Nation’s Most Polluted Cities

The air in the nation’s dirtiest metropolitan areas is getting cleaner, but roughly half of all Americans live in counties where residents sometimes still are exposed to unhealthy levels of air pollution.

That assessment comes from the annual “State of the Air” report by the American Lung Association, which ranks cities, counties and states by their levels of ozone and by particle pollution, such as soot and ash.

The Los Angeles area, and much of Central California, came out poorly in the rankings. As the Los Angeles Times noted, despite improvement in air quality over the past decade, the Los Angeles area ranked worst nationally in ozone and second to another California city, Bakersfield, in year-round particle pollution. The region’s ozone levels put it in violation of federal air quality standards an average of 137 days a year.

The State of the Air report warned that the worst-ranking areas for air pollution put their populations at risk for severe health problems. People with asthma, chronic bronchitis and emphysema, for example, could suffer air pollution-related “chest pain, wheezing, and asthma attacks.” For people with such health issues, breathing ozone and particle pollution “can shorten life by months to years,” according to the American Lung Association.

Air pollution also can worsen diabetes symptoms, and can stunt children’s lung growth.

The American Lung Association’s report  comes as Congressional Republicans are pushing for deep cuts in the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency, and are seeking to relax proposed rules to toughen ozone and soot standards.

“These are perilous times,” said Charles. D. Connor, president and chief executive of the American Lung Association. “Despite tremendous gains, the Clean Air Act is under attack from the polluters lobby.”

Related Post:
Philadelphia Named America’s Most Toxic City


Print Print  

Leave a comment