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: Great Barrier Reef dredge dumping plan could be shelved

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

3.4 /5 (5 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

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

Halliburton pays $1.1 bn for Gulf of Mexico BP spill

9 hours ago

Oil services company Halliburton said Tuesday it would pay a $1.1 billion settlement over its role in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil rig blowout that led to the United States' most disastrous oil spill.

Underwater grass comeback bodes well for Chesapeake Bay

9 hours ago

The Susquehanna Flats, a large bed of underwater grasses near the mouth of the Susquehanna River, virtually disappeared from the upper Chesapeake Bay after Tropical Storm Agnes more than 40 years ago. However, ...

Clean air halves health costs in Chinese city

12 hours ago

Air pollution regulations over the last decade in Taiyuan, China, have substantially improved the health of people living there, accounting for a greater than 50% reduction in costs associated with loss of life and disability ...

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.