AUGUSTA, GA | April 20, 2021
This year’s “State of the Air” report from the American Lung Association finds that Augusta’s air quality has worsened for both ozone pollution and year-round particle pollution. See the full report at Lung.org/sota.
The Lung Association’s annual air quality “report card” tracks and grades Americans’ exposure to unhealthful levels of particle pollution (also known as soot) and ozone (smog) over a three-year period – this year’s report covers 2017-2019.
“The levels of ozone and year-round particle pollution seen in Augusta can harm the health of all of our residents, but particularly at risk are children, older adults and people living with lung disease,” said June Deen, the director of advocacy for the Lung Association. “Fortunately, the area did see an improvement in the levels of short-term particle pollution.”
Ozone Pollution in Augusta
Compared to the 2020 report, Augusta experienced more unhealthy days of high ozone in this year’s report. “State of the Air” ranked Augusta as the 101st most polluted city for ozone pollution, which is worse compared to their ranking of 153rd in last year’s report. The area received an “C” grade for ozone pollution.
Particle Pollution in Augusta
The “State of the Air” report found that year-round particle pollution levels in Augusta were higher than in last year’s report. The area was ranked 28th most polluted for year-round particle pollution (worse than the ranking of 36th last year). The report also tracked short-term spikes in particle pollution, which can be extremely dangerous and even lethal. Augusta’s short-term particle pollution improved in this year’s report, which means there were fewer unhealthy days. The area is ranked 54th worst for short-term particle pollution.
The “State of the Air” report found that nationwide, more than 4 in 10 people (135 million) lived with polluted air, placing their health and lives at risk. In Augusta, pollution placed residents at risk, including those who are more vulnerable to the effects of air pollution, such as older adults, children and people with a lung disease. The report also shows that nationally, people of color were 61% more likely to live in a county with unhealthy air than white people, and three times more likely to live in a county that failed all three air quality grades. The report also finds that climate change made air quality worse and harder to clean up.
The report analyzes particle pollution in two ways: average annual levels and short-term spikes. Both ozone and particle pollution can cause premature death and other serious health effects such as asthma attacks and cardiovascular damage and are linked to developmental and reproductive harm. Particle pollution can also cause lung cancer.
Learn more about “State of the Air” at Lung.org/sota and sign the petition for the Biden Administration to promote clean air, a safe climate and environmental justice. Media interested in speaking with an expert about lung health, clean air and threats to air quality can contact Jill Dale at [email protected] or at 312-940-7001.
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, which has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and is a Platinum-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.