2004 Lung Association Report on Air Quality

According to the American Lung Association State of the Air 2004 report released today, high levels of microscopic, soot-like particles are increasing the risk of premature death for millions of people, including those with heart or lung disease.

People with cardiovascular diseases, children and the elderly are most vulnerable to the health risks associated with particle pollution, as are tens of millions of people who suffer from chronic lung disease such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Specifically at risk are:

  • The 17 million people with cardiovascular disease living in areas with unhealthy short-term particle pollution levels. Even short-term exposure--several hours to several days--has been linked to premature death, heart attacks and stroke.
  • The nearly 4 million adults and 1.4 million children with asthma exposed to unhealthy year-round particle levels
  • The 3 million with chronic bronchitis and 888,000 with emphysema living in areas with dangerous short-term particle pollution.

According to the report:

  • Twenty-eight percent (more than 81 million) of the U.S. population lives in areas with unhealthy short-term levels of particle pollution
  • Nearly one-quarter of Americans (66 million) live in areas with unhealthy year-round levels of particle pollution
  • Nearly half of all Americans (136 million) live in counties with unhealthy levels of ozone, despite substantial reductions in ozone in the 34 years spent fighting the problem
  • All totaled, some 159 million Americans live in counties with unhealthy levels of either ozone or short-term levels or year-round levels of particle pollution
  • Most alarmingly, 46 million Americans live in counties where all three levels are unhealthy

You can see where your county is by clicking on the link below.

American Lung Association April 29, 2004

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