Welcome!

News Feed Item

American Lung Association "State of the Air 2013" Report Finds Air Quality Improves Nationwide Despite More Spikes in Unhealthy Air Days

WASHINGTON, April 24, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Lung Association's "State of the Air 2013" report released today finds significant progress in the reduction of year-round particle pollution (soot) across the nation, but many cities that ranked among the most polluted had more unhealthy days of high ozone (smog) and short-term particle pollution than in the 2012 report.  Despite that uptick, "State of the Air 2013" shows that the air quality nationwide continues the long-term trend to much healthier air.

Key "State of the Air 2013" findings include:

  • More than 131.8 million people in the United States, which equates to 42 percent of the U.S. population, live in counties that have unhealthy levels of either ozone or particle pollution.
  • Nearly 24.8 million people (8 percent) in the United States live in counties that have unhealthy levels of all three: ozone and short-term and year-round particle pollution. 
  • Eighteen cities had lower year-round levels of particle pollution, including 16 cities with their lowest levels recorded. 

"We are happy to report that the state of our air is much cleaner today than when we started the 'State of the Air' report 14 years ago," said Harold Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association.  "Even in parts of the country that experienced increases in unhealthy days of high ozone and short-term particle pollution, they still have better air quality compared to a decade ago.  But the work is not done, and the Environmental Protection Agency must continue the work necessary to achieve the promise of the Clean Air Act; healthy air that is safe for all to breathe." 

More cities – four – made the list of the "cleanest cities" than in any previous "State of the Air" report: Bismarck, N.D.; Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla.; Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, Fla.; and Rapid City, S.D. To make this list, the cities had to have no days with unhealthy levels of ozone or particle pollution and had to be among the 25 cities with the lowest year-round particle levels.

Some Progress in Reducing Particle Pollution

This year's report reveals that many places made strong progress, particularly in lower year-round levels of particle pollution, compared to last year's report.  Lower particle pollution levels are a direct result of emissions reductions from the transition to cleaner diesel fuels and engines and coal-fired power plants, especially in the eastern United States. 

Although year-round average levels for particles are steadily dropping, the reverse is true for short-term spikes in days with high particle counts.  "State of the Air 2013" found that six cities had their worst year ever for short-term pollution spikes since the data started to be collected.  Periods of unhealthy particle levels often occur in the winter, as has recently been the case in Fairbanks, Alaska, and Salt Lake City.  In some cities, the particle pollution spikes come from increased burning of wood and other fuels for heat, often from highly polluting indoor wood stoves or outdoor wood boilers.

Room for Improvement for Ozone

Ozone is the most common air pollutant we breathe in this country, and it has proven to be one of the hardest to reduce.  Most cities with the worst ozone problems made progress with fewer high ozone days. Unfortunately, several places recorded more unhealthy ozone days on average than in 2008-2010.  Los Angeles reported its fewest unhealthy ozone days since the "State of the Air" reports began, but it remains the city with the worst ozone pollution problem.  The nation needs more aggressive safeguards to achieve continued reductions of ozone pollution.  Warmer weather during 2009-2011 may have contributed to the increase.

Protecting the Air We Breathe

Air pollution remains a pervasive public health threat in the United States.  To reduce the threat the Obama Administration must take some critically important actions in the next year, and Congress must support and not impede the scientists at the EPA as they establish standards to reduce tailpipe and smokestack pollution.  Safeguards are necessary to protect the health of nearly 132 million people living in counties with dangerous levels of either ozone or particle pollution that can cause wheezing and coughing, asthma attacks, heart attacks, and premature death.  Those at greatest risk from air pollution include infants, children, older adults, anyone with lung diseases like asthma, people with heart disease or diabetes, people with low incomes and anyone who works or exercises outdoors.

Specific actions to be taken include:

  • Clean up gasoline and cars – Emissions from cars and light trucks are a major source of dangerous air pollution.  The EPA needs to issue the final Cleaner Gasoline and Vehicle Standards (Tier 3) before the end of 2013.  The proposed standards will help counties meet air quality standards by limiting ozone-forming and particle pollution from passenger vehicles by reducing the amount of sulfur in gasoline and set fleet-wide emission limits on new vehicles.  These standards will prevent more than 2,500 premature deaths and will remove the pollution equivalent of taking 33 million passenger vehicles off of our roads.
  • Fund the work to provide healthy air – The EPA along with state and local air pollution agencies are essential parts of the national infrastructure that cleans our air and protects the health of our communities.  But ever-tightening budgets jeopardize their work.  Increased funding will enable them to effectively monitor air quality, implement critical air quality programs to protect public health and meet national clean air goals.
  • Clean up coal-fired power plants – Coal-fired power plants are a major source of hazardous pollutants and the single largest producer of greenhouse gasses.  Many of these pollutants, such as mercury, benzene, dioxins, arsenic and lead, can cause cancer and cardiovascular disease; harm the kidneys, lungs and nervous system; and even kill.  By the end of 2013, the EPA needs to complete the process of setting power plant carbon pollution standards for new power plants, and it needs to propose standards for existing plants.
  • Strengthen the outdated ozone standards – Ozone (smog) is one of the most dangerous and widespread pollutants in the nation.  In 2011, the Obama administration failed to update ozone pollution limits, violating the Clean Air Act by not setting a standard that adequately protects public health.  Strengthening these standards to levels that the law requires will help prevent thousands of premature deaths in the United States each year.

"We have seen time and again that the Clean Air Act delivers tremendous health benefits," said Wimmer.  "Congress must ensure that the provisions under the Clean Air Act are protected and are fully enforced.  EPA and the states must have adequate funding to monitor and protect the nation from air pollution."

The American Lung Association's "State of the Air 2013" report is an annual, national air quality "report card." The 2013 report—the 14th annual release—uses the most recent quality assured air pollution data, compiled by the EPA, in 2009, 2010, and 2011.  These data come from the official monitors for the two most widespread types of pollution, ozone (smog) and particle pollution (PM 2.5, also known as soot).  The report grades counties and ranks cities and counties based on their scores for ozone, year-round particle pollution and short-term particle pollution levels.

To see how your community ranks in "State of the Air 2013," to learn how to protect yourself and your family from air pollution, and to join the fight for healthy air, visit www.stateoftheair.org.

Nation's Most Polluted Cities
Top 10 U.S. Cities Most Polluted by Short-term Particle Pollution (24-hour PM2.5)
Metropolitan Statistical Areas
1. Bakersfield-Delano, Calif.
2. Fresno-Madera, Calif.
3. Hanford-Corcoran, Calif.
4. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside, Calif.
5. Modesto, Calif.
6. Salt Lake City-Ogden-Clearfield, Utah
7. Pittsburgh-New Castle, Pa.
8. Merced, Calif.
9. Fairbanks, Alaska
10. Logan, Utah-Idaho

Top 10 U.S. Cities Most Polluted by Year-Round Particle Pollution (Annual PM2.5)
Metropolitan Statistical Areas
1. Bakersfield-Delano, Calif.
1. Merced, Calif.
3. Fresno-Madera, Calif.
4. Hanford-Corcoran, Calif.
4. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside, Calif.
6. Modesto, Calif.
7. Visalia-Porterville, Calif.
8. Pittsburgh-New Castle, Pa.
9. El Centro, Calif.
10. Cincinnati-Middletown-Wilmington, Ohio-Ky.-Ind.

Top 10 Most Ozone-Polluted Cities
Metropolitan Statistical Areas
1. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside, Calif.
2. Visalia-Porterville, Calif.
3. Bakersfield-Delano, Calif.
4. Fresno-Madera, Calif.
5. Hanford-Corcoran, Calif.
6. Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Yuba City, Calif.-Nev.
7. Houston-Baytown-Huntsville, Texas
8. Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas
9. Washington-Baltimore-Northern Virginia, District of Columbia-Md.-Va.-W.Va.
10. El Centro, Calif.

About the American Lung Association
Now in its second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. With your generous support, the American Lung Association is "Fighting for Air" through research, education and advocacy. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1 800 LUNG USA (1 800 586 4872) or visit www.lung.org.

SOURCE American Lung Association

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
Mobile device usage has increased exponentially during the past several years, as consumers rely on handhelds for everything from news and weather to banking and purchases. What can we expect in the next few years? The way in which we interact with our devices will fundamentally change, as businesses leverage Artificial Intelligence. We already see this taking shape as businesses leverage AI for cost savings and customer responsiveness. This trend will continue, as AI is used for more sophistica...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
Most technology leaders, contemporary and from the hardware era, are reshaping their businesses to do software. They hope to capture value from emerging technologies such as IoT, SDN, and AI. Ultimately, irrespective of the vertical, it is about deriving value from independent software applications participating in an ecosystem as one comprehensive solution. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kausik Sridhar, founder and CTO of Pulzze Systems, discussed how given the magnitude of today's application ...
Recently, REAN Cloud built a digital concierge for a North Carolina hospital that had observed that most patient call button questions were repetitive. In addition, the paper-based process used to measure patient health metrics was laborious, not in real-time and sometimes error-prone. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sean Finnerty, Executive Director, Practice Lead, Health Care & Life Science at REAN Cloud, and Dr. S.P.T. Krishnan, Principal Architect at REAN Cloud, discussed how they built...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
The “Digital Era” is forcing us to engage with new methods to build, operate and maintain applications. This transformation also implies an evolution to more and more intelligent applications to better engage with the customers, while creating significant market differentiators. In both cases, the cloud has become a key enabler to embrace this digital revolution. So, moving to the cloud is no longer the question; the new questions are HOW and WHEN. To make this equation even more complex, most ...
As you move to the cloud, your network should be efficient, secure, and easy to manage. An enterprise adopting a hybrid or public cloud needs systems and tools that provide: Agility: ability to deliver applications and services faster, even in complex hybrid environments Easier manageability: enable reliable connectivity with complete oversight as the data center network evolves Greater efficiency: eliminate wasted effort while reducing errors and optimize asset utilization Security: imple...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...
The past few years have brought a sea change in the way applications are architected, developed, and consumed—increasing both the complexity of testing and the business impact of software failures. How can software testing professionals keep pace with modern application delivery, given the trends that impact both architectures (cloud, microservices, and APIs) and processes (DevOps, agile, and continuous delivery)? This is where continuous testing comes in. D
Modern software design has fundamentally changed how we manage applications, causing many to turn to containers as the new virtual machine for resource management. As container adoption grows beyond stateless applications to stateful workloads, the need for persistent storage is foundational - something customers routinely cite as a top pain point. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Bill Borsari, Head of Systems Engineering at Datera, explored how organizations can reap the bene...
Digital transformation is about embracing digital technologies into a company's culture to better connect with its customers, automate processes, create better tools, enter new markets, etc. Such a transformation requires continuous orchestration across teams and an environment based on open collaboration and daily experiments. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Alex Casalboni, Technical (Cloud) Evangelist at Cloud Academy, explored and discussed the most urgent unsolved challenges to achieve f...
The dynamic nature of the cloud means that change is a constant when it comes to modern cloud-based infrastructure. Delivering modern applications to end users, therefore, is a constantly shifting challenge. Delivery automation helps IT Ops teams ensure that apps are providing an optimal end user experience over hybrid-cloud and multi-cloud environments, no matter what the current state of the infrastructure is. To employ a delivery automation strategy that reflects your business rules, making r...
The 22nd International Cloud Expo | 1st DXWorld Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, to be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY, brings together Cloud Computing, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding busin...
In a recent survey, Sumo Logic surveyed 1,500 customers who employ cloud services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). According to the survey, a quarter of the respondents have already deployed Docker containers and nearly as many (23 percent) are employing the AWS Lambda serverless computing framework. It’s clear: serverless is here to stay. The adoption does come with some needed changes, within both application development and operations. Tha...