Report: Most Americans still live in unclean air

Apr 28, 2010 By SUE MANNING , Associated Press Writer

(AP) -- Six in 10 Americans - about 175 million people - are living in places where air pollution often reaches dangerous levels, despite progress in reducing particle pollution, the American Lung Association said in a report released Wednesday.

The Los Angeles area had the nation's worst .

The report examined fine particulate matter over 24-hour periods and as a year-round average. Bakersfield, Calif., had the worst short-term particle pollution, and the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale area of Arizona had the worst year-round particle pollution.

The U.S. cities with the cleanest air were Fargo, N.D., Wahpeton, N.D., and Lincoln, Neb.

The report, based on 2006-08 figures, credited cleaner diesel engines and controls on coal-fired power plants for decreasing pollution such as soot and dust. However, the report estimates that nearly 30 million people live in areas with chronic levels of pollution so that even when levels are relatively low, people can be exposed to particles that will increase the risk of asthma, lung damage and premature death.

About 24 million people live in 18 counties with unhealthy levels of ozone, short-term particle pollution and year-round particle pollution, the report said, adding that new research shows the risk of health problems from pollution may be worse than once thought, especially for infants and children.

The California Air Resources Board has tripled its estimates of premature deaths in California from particle pollution to 18,000 a year, the report said.

Freeways remain high-risk areas for everyone, the study said, increasing the risk of heart attack, allergies, premature births and .

The two biggest threats in the United States are ozone and , the Lung Association said. Others include carbon monoxide, lead, , and a variety of toxic substances.

For the first time, the association included people living in poverty as one of its at-risk groups, reasoning that people with lower income levels face higher pollution risks.

Explore further: Pact with devil? California farmers use oil firms' water

More information: American Lung Association's report: http://www.stateoftheair.org

0 shares

Related Stories

Report: Most Americans in areas with unhealthy air

Apr 29, 2009

(AP) -- Sixty percent of Americans live in areas with unhealthy air pollution levels, despite a growing green movement and more stringent laws aimed at improving air quality, the American Lung Association ...

Air pollution may increase risk of appendicitis

Oct 06, 2008

Could there be a link between high levels of air pollution and the risk of appendicitis? New research presented at the 73rd Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology in Orlando, suggests a novel ...

Largest air pollution study is released

Mar 08, 2006

A study published Wednesday suggests fine particulate air pollution spikes increase cardiovascular and respiratory hospitalizations across the United States.

Report Analyzes Construction Pollution Impact in California

Dec 05, 2006

In California, pollution from construction equipment in 2005 was responsible for an estimated 1,132 premature deaths, nearly 183,000 lost work days, 1,086 hospitalizations, and $9.1 billion dollars in annual costs, according ...

Recommended for you

Gimmicks and technology: California learns to save water

Jul 03, 2015

Billboards and TV commercials, living room visits, guess-your-water-use booths, and awards for water stinginess—a wealthy swath of Orange County that once had one of the worst records for water conservation ...

Cities, regions call for 'robust' world climate pact

Jul 03, 2015

Thousands of cities, provinces and states from around the world urged national governments on Thursday to deliver a "robust, binding, equitable and universal" planet-saving climate pact in December.

Will climate change put mussels off the menu?

Jul 03, 2015

Climate change models predict that sea temperatures will rise significantly, including in the tropics. In these areas, rainfall is also predicted to increase, reducing the salt concentration of the surface ...

As nations dither, cities pick up climate slack

Jul 02, 2015

Their national governments hamstrung by domestic politics, stretched budgets and diplomatic inertia, many cities and provinces have taken a leading role—driven by necessity—in efforts to arrest galloping ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

rwinners
not rated yet Apr 30, 2010
Actually, I think the definition of 'unhealthy' air has been changed repeatedly over the past half century. The dirty air of the 1950's would not be classified as deadly.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.