US air quality getting worse, not better
by Alan Harten
May 4, 2009
The American Lung Association has issued its annual report on air pollution (State of the Air) in the United States and has declared that 60% of Americans live in areas that contain highly polluted air that can be endangering their lives.
The same report also mentioned that these areas not only hurt the residents but are also high contributors to global warming.
Thus the American Lung Association is encouraging people to think about their own sustainability when approaching environmental issues such as global warming, as well going as far as to call it a ‘wakeup call.’
Cities are graded on an alphabetical scale ranging from A through F with three distinct categories: smog, 24 hour particle pollution, and annual particle pollution.
The latter is the worst category of failure.
Although this may sound bad, there is worse news for Americans, because despite efforts to be more environmentally conscious sixteen of the 25 cities to make the top of the list have worse air conditions then last year, meaning air pollution is increasing instead of decreasing.
The State of the Air study shows that some more rural counties are getting better, but cities are continuing to decline.
The problem areas are becoming worse while light pollution is continuing to be elevated in other areas.
Areas that fall under ozone warnings carry a higher risk of sunburn, irritated lungs, and the increased occurrences of asthma.
85% of Americans fall into county categories where a significant amount of ozone problems are evident.
Annual particle pollution defines a county that has an increased risk of premature death due to the presence of high air pollution triggering strokes, heart attacks, and other leading mortality diseases.
Approximately 1 in 6 Americans lives with this type of air pollution.
The study’s findings are thought to cement the idea that severe air pollution will cause premature death in otherwise healthy people and that everyone is affected by air pollution stated Dr. Norman Edleman the lead Chief Medical Officer of the Lung Association.
Air pollution has been directly linked to heart attacks, asthma, and chronic respiratory problems as poor lung capacity can cause damage to the heart.
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