American Lung Association releases 14th annual State of the Air report

(April 24, 2013)

Des Moines, IA – The American Lung Association’s annual “State of the Air” report finds that air quality nationwide continues the long-term trend to much healthier air. The strongest progress came in lower levels of year-round particle pollution across much of the nation.

State of the Air 2013” is the Lung Association’s 14th annual, national air quality “report card.” It uses the most recent air pollution data, compiled by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 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.

“Particle pollution and ozone are two different things,” explains Micki Sandquist, Executive Director of the American Lung Association in Iowa. “Think of ozone as a gas that comes from “cooking” emissions from smokestacks and tailpipes in the right combination of heat and sunlight. Particle pollution is a microscopic mix of solids and aerosols that come from different kinds of emissions from smokestacks and tailpipes.”

Is your city on America’s most polluted list? Or are you in one of our cleanest cities? Find out here.

Someone you love is likely at higher risk
Air pollution remains a pervasive health threat. You probably know someone on the list below who faces a higher risk from air pollution (maybe including you!):

  • infants, children, teenagers and older adults
  • anyone with lung diseases like asthma or COPD,
  • people with heart disease or diabetes,
  • people with low incomes, and
  • anyone who works or exercises outdoors.

Dangerous levels of ozone or particle pollution can cause wheezing and coughing, asthma attacks, heart attacks, and premature death.  Learn more about the health risks of air pollution.

Visit to see how your community ranks and to learn how to protect yourself and your family from air pollution.

Want to help protect the air we all share? Here’s what you can do:

  • Urgent! Tell EPA that we need cleaner gasoline and vehicles to cut pollution all across the nation.  For about a penny a gallon, we can all breathe a lot easier.
  • Take time there to share your story about why healthy air matters to you and your family.
  • Take steps to clean up the air in your community and to protect your family: drive less; walk, bike, carpool or take transit. Don’t burn wood or trash. Make sure your local school system uses clean school buses. Use less electricity. Don’t’ exercise on high pollution days and never exercise near busy freeways.
  • Follow us on Facebook and Twitter at @LungAssociation for much more information about lung health.
  • Make a financial contribution to the American Lung Association to support our fight for clean and healthy air at