The American Lung Association
of The Air
Twenty-five of the top 27 most-polluted cities for year-round
particle pollution levels had cleaner air than last year’s report found.
Air pollution hovers at unhealthy levels in almost every major city,
threatening people’s ability to breathe and placing lives at risk.
The most widespread kinds of air pollution are ozone (smog) and
particle pollution (soot). Breathing either can harm your body and risk your
When inhaled, ozone irritates the lungs, resulting in something
like a bad sunburn within the lungs.
The American Lung Association leads the fight for healthy air
every day. We fight for tighter clean air standards, reduced power plant
emissions and cleaner diesel fuels and vehicles.
Breathing in particle pollution can increase the risk of early
death, heart attacks, strokes and emergency room visits for people with asthma,
cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
About one in 17 people in the United States lives in an area
with unhealthy year-round levels of fine particle pollution.
Do you live near, or work on or near a busy highway? Pollution
from the traffic may put you at greater risk of harm.
Air pollution remains a real and urgent threat to public health
in the US, despite real progress since 1970.
Even with the growing “green movement,” air pollution in some
parts of our country actually got worse since last year’s report.
The American Lung Association fought to strengthen the Clean Air
Act in 1990.
People who work or exercise outside face increased risk from the
effects of air pollution.
More than half of all Americans live in areas with unhealthy
levels of air pollution.
18.5 million Americans live in counties where the outdoor air
failed all three tests covered in the State of the Air report.
Two cities—Honolulu, HI and Santa Fe, NM—ranked among the
cleanest in all three air pollution categories covered in State of the Air.
Certain groups are especially vulnerable to the effects of air
pollution, such as: infants, older adults and people with lung diseases like
Steps to clean up pollution may have added 5 months to the
average lifespan, according to one study.
Minorities and lower income groups are often disproportionately
affected by air pollution which put them at higher risk for illnesses.
Air pollution is a serious health threat. It sends people to the
hospital, shapes how kids’ lungs develop, and can even be deadly.
Some of the biggest sources of air pollution are dirty power
plants, old diesel vehicles and heavy equipment, and ocean-going vessels.
Steps you can take to improve air quality will also help fight
climate change. Drive less. Don’t burn wood or trash. Use less electricity.
Make sure your school system requires clean buses.
You can protect your family by checking the air quality
forecasts in your community and avoiding exercising or working outdoors when
the unhealthy air is expected.