Air Quality in California | American Lung Association

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Fighting for Air Quality in California

Despite decades of progress, Californians still breathe some of the most polluted air in the nation, with approximately 70 percent of Californians living in areas with unhealthy air. Numerous scientific studies have linked air pollution to lung cancer, worsening asthma attacks, heart attacks, strokes, and early death as well as increased hospitalizations for breathing problems.

Research also shows that air pollution may cause asthma in otherwise healthy children. More than five million Californians have been diagnosed with asthma, including nearly one million children. Elderly residents, children, infants, lower income communities and others living with respiratory illnesses are most vulnerable to unhealthy air. Air pollution can even reduce lung function in children, and limit breathing capacity for a lifetime.

For decades, the American Lung Association in California has led the way to improved air quality, successfully promoting policies to reduce car and truck emissions, diesel exhaust from trucks, buses, ports and off-road equipment, and supporting key efforts to implement smart growth solutions that reduce the need to drive and our dependence on dirty petroleum. A major focus of our current efforts is to maintain progress in implementation of life-saving air pollution laws made possible through California's clean air leadership in the following areas:

Clean Transportation

The American Lung Association in California has long supported zero-emission electric vehicles to cut smog, soot and climate pollution that threatens the lung health of all Californians today and for generations to come. With recent legislation and the governor's goal of putting 1 million clean, electric vehicles on California roads by 2023, including special assistance to disadvantaged communities, it is easier than ever to purchase or lease an electric vehicle. For more information on our Clean Transportation initiatives, please click here.

Protect the Air You Breathe

You can help protect the air you breathe and fight for clean and healthy air. Sign up for our Action Network and become an e-advocate, or participate in the program listed below:

  • The Bay Area Air Quality Management District's Spare the Air program works to reduce air pollution in the region and alert the public when air quality is forecast to be unhealthy. Sign up to stay informed about the Spare the Air program and air quality conditions in the Bay Area.
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