Air Pollution Affecting More Than Half Of All Americans

More than half of all the people living in the United States currently live in areas where pollution can make the air dangerous to inhale, according the American Lung Association’s ‘State of the Air 2010’ report, which was released on Wednesday.

According to the key findings of the report, which were published online by the American Lung Association, “the air quality in many places has improved, but that over 175 million people–roughly 58 percent–still suffer pollution levels that are too often dangerous to breathe. Unhealthy air remains a threat to the lives and health of millions of people in the United States, despite great progress.”

The study used air pollution data collected from 2006 through 2008 to look at ozone/smog pollution levels, short-term (24 hour) particulate matter pollution levels, and long-term (annual average) particulate matter pollution levels. The American Lung Association then compiled a list of the cleanest and dirtiest cities in the U.S. for each category, as well as overall scores for each.

Bismarck, North Dakota was named the cleanest city in terms of ozone pollution, while Cheyenne, Wyoming topped the year-round list and Alexandria, Louisiana was ranked first on the short-term pollution list. Conversely, Bakersfield, California, was the most polluted city in America in terms of 24-hour particulates, while the Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area topped the annual list of most polluted cities and the Los Angeles metropolitan area had the highest levels of smog.

“State of the Air 2010 proves with hard data that cleaning up air pollution produces healthier air,” Mary H. Partridge, American Lung Association National Board Chair, said in an April 28 press release.

“However, more needs to be done,” she added. “We are working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on additional measures that will require even greater clean up of power plants. We are also calling for additional funding to install equipment to clean up the 20 million dirty diesel vehicles currently on the road polluting U.S. cities every day.”

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