(Huffington Post) – Think about this: more than 4 in 10 people in the United States live in counties that have unhealthy levels of either ozone or particle pollution. Now think about this: in the time it took to read that, you probably took 4-5 breaths. Makes you want to know what was in that air, doesn’t it?
We strongly believe that everyone has the right to breathe healthy air, and that begins with knowing the quality of your air. So for the past 16 years, the American Lung Association has undertaken the “State of the Air” report, which examines air pollution levels across the U.S. This year’s report shows encouraging progress, evidence of the success of our long fight for cleaner, healthier air for all Americans. Paired with that progress, however, is evidence of troubling challenges. Both underscore the urgent need to continue to defend the Clean Air Act, which protects the air we all breathe.
The American Lung Association’s annual “State of the Air” report reviews monitoring data on the two most common and harmful types of air pollution – ozone (smog) and particle pollution (soot) – and compiles a “report card” telling how much of each type of pollution is in the air where you live and breathe. Why is this important? Because both ozone and particle pollution can harm your health – even shorten lives. Medical science warns us that air pollution does more harm to our health than we previously thought, and at lower levels.
Dangerous levels of air pollution can harm everyone, even healthy adults. However, those at greatest risk include infants, children, older adults, anyone with lung disease like asthma and COPD, people with heart disease or diabetes, people with low incomes and anyone who works or exercises outdoors. High levels of pollution can cause severe asthma attacks, heart attacks and strokes. Recently, the World Health Organization concluded that particle pollution can cause lung cancer, the #1 cancer killer in America.