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New American Lung Association Report Finds 60 Percent of Americans Live in Areas Where Air is Dirty Enough to Endanger Lives
Date:4/29/2009

ve action to make our air healthier," added Nolan.

Many cities, like Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, Charlotte, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore have made considerable improvements in their air quality over the past decade. People living in some of these cities however, are breathing even dirtier air than what was reported in the Lung Association's 2008 report. Only one city - Fargo, N.D. - ranked among the cleanest in all three air pollution categories covered in State of the Air.

Ozone

(Click here for b-roll that illustrates how ozone pollution affects the lungs.)

Sixteen cities making this year's 25 most ozone-polluted list experienced worsened ozone (smog) problems than last year's report found. Fifty-eight percent of people in the United States live in counties with recorded unhealthy levels of ozone air pollution, measured against the tighter standard in effect since March 2008. The new standard showed that unhealthy ozone levels are more widespread and more severe than previously recognized. The report's review of the past 10 years identified consistent improvements in ozone in some cities, most notably Los Angeles, which has long been recognized for its serious ozone problem. By contrast, two cities, Dallas-Ft. Worth and Las Vegas, have higher ozone levels than 10 years ago. The report reviewed all previous data against the new EPA standard to appropriately trace the trends.

Ozone is the most widespread form of air pollution. When inhaled, ozone irritates the lungs, resulting in something like a bad sunburn. The health effects of breathing ozone pollution can be immediate. Ozone can cause wheezing, coughing and asthma attacks. Breathing ozone pollution can even shorten lives.

"More than 175 million Americans live in areas
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SOURCE American Lung Association
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