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Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Date:4/28/2010

But report finds 175 million people still exposed to dangerous levels of smog and soot

WEDNESDAY, April 28 (HealthDay News) -- While a decade of efforts to reduce air pollution in the United States has improved air quality in many cities in the Northeast and Midwest, 175 million people are still exposed to dangerous levels of smog and soot, a new report reveals.

The survey, from the American Lung Association, credits a considerable overall drop in air pollution nationwide to a shift towards cleaner fuels and engines, along with curbs on coal-fired power plant emissions. Along with recent industrial clean-up efforts, the result has been a drop-off in both particle pollution (fine specks of soot, dust and aerosols) and ozone pollution, the report suggests.

However, the organization's analysis also indicates that improvements in air quality have not been spread evenly across the nation, with many urban areas in the Western part of the country seeing poor air quality. That means that 58 percent of Americans still breathe dirty air.

"Air doesn't just get cleaned up by itself," said Janice Nolen, assistant vice president of national policy and advocacy for the lung association. "We have a history of knowing that you have to put some control equipment on things that produce pollution in order to get results."

"So, certainly we're pleased to see that the air control measures we worked for a long time to put in place are working," she stressed. "There are improvements. But we want people to know that while there are good trends we've still got a lot more clean-up to do. This isn't a done deal."

Nolen highlighted the findings during a recent press conference co-hosted by Dr. Norman H. Edelman, chief medical officer for the lung association.

Essentially an air quality "report card," the latest annual analysis is based on air pollution data collected between 2006 and 2008 from thousands
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