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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

Eleven cities have improved continually since the 2007 report.

Emerging research has redefined the severity and immediate health impacts of particle pollution and ozone, as well as an expanded definition of specific groups at great risk. New data show that women in their 50's may be particularly threatened by air pollution and that diesel truck drivers and dockworkers who are forced to breathe exhaust on the job may face a greater risk of developing lung cancer or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. California researchers have tripled their estimate of the number of people that particle pollution kills each year in their state.

"The science is rock-solid. We now know that air pollution can impair the lung function of even the healthiest people," said Norman H. Edelman, MD, American Lung Association Chief Medical Officer. "Air pollution worsens asthma and is a direct cause of heart attacks, which makes people living with lung and heart disease especially vulnerable."

Low income people and some racial and ethnic groups often face greater risk from pollutants. Pollution sources like factories and power plants may be closer to their homes. Many live near areas with heavy highway traffic or have poor access to health care, which makes them even more vulnerable. Some racial and ethnic groups have a higher prevalence of diseases like asthma or diabetes, which compounds the ill effects of air pollution for these groups.

"We need to renew our commitment to providing healthy air for all our citizens--a commitment the United States made almost 40 years ago when Congress passed the Clean Air Act," Connor said. "After four decades, we still have much work to do. America needs to cut emissions from big polluters like coal-fired power plants and ocean-going vessels. We need to fix old dirty diesel engines to make them cleaner
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SOURCE American Lung Association
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