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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

with unhealthy smog levels--that's 80 million more than we identified in last year's report," explained Charles D. Connor, American Lung Association President and CEO. "We at the American Lung Association believe that the new ozone standard is not yet strong enough to protect human health--an opinion nearly all scientific experts share."

Particle Pollution

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

State of the Air grades counties for both 24-hour and year-round particle pollution levels. Particle pollution is a toxic mix of microscopic soot, diesel exhaust, chemicals, metals and aerosols. It is the most dangerous and deadly of the outdoor air pollutants that are widespread in America. Breathing in particle pollution can increase the risk of early death, heart attacks, strokes and emergency room visits for asthma and cardiovascular disease.

One in six people in the United States lives in an area with unhealthy year-round levels of fine particle pollution (termed annual average levels). Nine cities in the list of the 25 most polluted by year-round particle pollution showed measurable improvement, including five cities that reported their best year-round levels since the Lung Association began tracking this pollutant: Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Atlanta, York, Pa., and Lancaster, Pa. The annual average level of particle pollution worsened in a dozen cities, including Bakersfield, Calif., Los Angeles and Houston.

Roughly 3 in 10 Americans live in counties with unhealthful spikes of particle pollution which can last from hours to days (termed 24-hour levels). Thirteen cities had more days--or more severe days--of spikes than in last year's report.
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SOURCE American Lung Association
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