In Time for First Day of Summer American Lung Association Offers Free New Air Quality Smartphone App

Washington, DC (June 20, 2012)

As the communities in the Northeast and Midwest brace for unhealthy air pollution levels this week, the American Lung Association launched a free State of the Air® smartphone application to help people monitor whether their air is safe to breathe. This tool, which is available for Apple and Android, can be a valuable resource for people living with lung disease like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), people with heart disease or diabetes, as well as older adults and children. The app is also useful for those working outdoors and those planning outdoor activities – hiking, biking or running.

Despite continued improvements in air quality, unhealthy levels of air pollution still exist in communities across the country. According to the Lung Association’s State of the Air® 2012 report released in April, more than 127.2 million people live in U.S. counties with dangerous levels of ozone or particle pollution, the two most widespread air pollutants. The organization also developed an infographic of the nation’s most polluted cities.

The State of the Air app enables users to enter their zip code or use the geo-locator function to get current air quality conditions and the next-day air quality forecast. The app tracks levels of both ozone and particle pollution, and pushes out alerts if local air quality is code orange- unhealthy for sensitive groups - or worse. Depending on the severity of the day’s air pollution, the app will provide vital health recommendations – advising that outdoor activities should be rescheduled or that people who work outdoors should limit extended or heavy exertion.

“More than 40 percent of people in the United States live in areas where air pollution continues to threaten their health,” according to Norman H. Edelman, M.D., Chief Medical Officer for the American Lung Association. “The State of the Air app is especially valuable during warmer weather, when ozone pollution peaks in many cities with long hot sunny days.”

Heat and sunlight mixed with the pollution from tailpipes, smokestacks and other sources create ozone: the most widespread air pollutant, which can cause health problems like wheezing, coughing, asthma attacks and even premature death.

Whether the air is code green, “good,” or code red, “unhealthy,” the app allows users to share their local air quality via email, Facebook or Twitter. The app also provides users with the opportunity to sign up to receive information from the American Lung Association on topics of particular interest to them. Users can also send an email to members of Congress through the app’s “speak up” function, which includes a template letter supporting the Clean Air Act.

This air quality information is based on data made available to the public by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The American Lung Association app is available for Apple in iTunes and for Android in Google Play or at www.lung.org/stateoftheairapp.

For more information on the State of the Air app, please contact Carrie Martin Munk at Carrie.Martin@Lung.org, or (202) 715-3461.

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About the American Lung Association
Now in its second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. With your generous support, the American Lung Association is “Fighting for Air” through research, education and advocacy. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or visit www.lung.org.