Journal News (Letter to the editor): Heat, pollution cause big problems

LoHudMasthead

Jul 28, 2011    

Last week's high temperatures and elevated ozone levels should remind all New Yorkers to take special precaution to protect their lung health and do their part to help control pollution levels. Elevated pollution levels make it difficult to breathe and can even send individuals to the hospital.

In our 2011 State of the Air Report, most Hudson Valley counties received failing grades for ozone despite slight improvements in air quality. And while the New York City metro area had lower ozone levels than previous years, the area still ranked 17th on the Top 25 list of U.S. cities most polluted by ozone.

New Yorkers should check the news daily for air- quality levels and air pollution forecasts in their area. On days with elevated ozone, those with lung disease should avoid exercising outdoors. All of us can help contribute to reduced ozone levels by walking or taking public transportation when possible, reducing electricity use and avoiding vehicle idling.

Anyone with questions about their breathing or lung health can also call the Lung Association's free Lung HelpLine at 1-800-LUNGUSA. Registered nurses and respiratory therapists stand ready to assist callers with their questions.

Dr. Irwin Berlin
Board chairman, American Lung Association in New York