About State of the Air
"State of the Air" is the American Lung Association's annual national air quality "report card." It uses the most recent air pollution data, compiled by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for the two most widespread types of pollution—ozone (smog) and particle pollution (PM2.5, 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. Since 2000, the American Lung Association has analyzed data from official air quality monitors to compile the "State of the Air" report.
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- More than 5 out of 10 people live where the air they breathe earned an F in State of the Air 2016.
- Nearly 166 million people live in counties that received an F for either ozone or particle pollution in State of the Air 2016.
- Nearly 20 million people live in counties that got an F for all three air pollution measures in State of the Air 2016.
- Breathing ozone irritates the lungs, resulting in something like a bad sunburn within the lungs.
- Breathing in particle pollution can increase the risk of lung cancer, according to the World Health Organization.
- Particle pollution can also cause early death and heart attacks, strokes and emergency room visits for people with asthma, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
- Particles are smaller than 1/30th the diameter of a human hair. When you inhale them, they are small enough to get past the body's natural defenses.
- Ozone and particle pollution are both linked to increased risk of lower birth weight in newborns.
- Do you live near, or work on or near a busy highway? Pollution from the traffic may put you at greater risk of harm.
- People who work or exercise outside face increased risk from the effects of air pollution.
- Millions of people are especially vulnerable to the effects of air pollution, including infants, older adults and people with lung diseases like asthma.
- People of color and those earning lower incomes are often disproportionately affected by air pollution which put them at higher risk for illnesses.
- Air pollution is a serious health threat. It can trigger asthma attacks, harm lung development in children, and can even be deadly.
- 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.
- Big polluters and some members of Congress are trying to change the Clean Air Act and dismantle 45 years' of progress. The Lung Association is fighting to keep the law strong to continue to protect public health.
- Cutting air pollution through the Clean Air Act will prevent at least 230,000 deaths and save $2 trillion annually by 2020.