HONOLULU, HI | April 18, 2018
The American Lung Association’s State of the Air 2018 report shows that Hawaii continues to have some of the best air quality in the nation.
The City of Honolulu is recognized as one of the cleanest cities in the United States; Bellingham, Washington and Casper, Wyoming also are on this list. It’s also ranked as the number two cleanest city for year-round particle pollution. The city of Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina ranks as the number four cleanest city for year-round particle pollution and is one of the cleanest cities for short-term particle pollution.
Hawaii County receives a D in this year’s report for particle pollution, due to vog, air pollution resulting when sulfur dioxide and other gases and particles from volcano eruptions react with oxygen and moisture in sunlight. Unpredictable weather conditions make it challenging to provide guidance on protecting communities from vog. The American Lung Association and the Department of Health advise Hawaii Island residents and visitors to get advice and updates from the County of Hawaii.
“While many of us have healthy air to breathe in Hawaii, many in our nation are not so fortunate. More than four in 10 Americans – 133.9 million – live in counties that have unhealthful levels of either ozone or particle pollution, where their health is at risk,” said Kahala Howser, Executive Director for the American Lung Association in Hawaii. “Unhealthful levels of pollution, such as vog, put our communities at risk for premature death and other serious health effects such as asthma attacks and greater difficulty breathing for those living with a lung disease like COPD.”
Each year the State of the Air report provides a report card on the two most widespread outdoor air pollutants, ozone pollution, also known as smog, and particle pollution, also called soot. The report analyzes particle pollution in two ways: through average annual particle pollution levels and short-term spikes in particle pollution. Both ozone and particle pollution are dangerous to public health and can increase the risk of premature death and other serious health effects such as lung cancer, asthma attacks, cardiovascular damage, and developmental and reproductive harm. The trends reported in this year’s report, which covers data collected by states, cities, counties, tribes and federal agencies in 2014-2016, reflect the ongoing challenges to reduce each pollutant in the changing political and outdoor climate.
“We can and should do more to protect our public health,” said Howser. “The Lung Association urges our members of Congress to defend and strengthen the Clean Air Act. We also call on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to implement and enforce current laws instead of removing major safeguards like the Clean Power Plan and cleaner cars, both steps that help us fight climate change and reduce air pollution.”
For more information about Hawaii’s local air quality data and grades for each county and metropolitan area, visit www.stateoftheair.org. For media interested in speaking with an expert, please contact Holly Harvey at the American Lung Association of the Mountain Pacific at (206) 512-3292 or [email protected].
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, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.
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