Positive Air Quality Trends Continue, While Big Polluters and Congress Seek to Weaken Proven Clean Air Controls.
Washington, D.C. (April 25, 2012)—The American Lung Association’s State of the Air 2012 report released today finds that in America’s most polluted cities, air quality was at its cleanest since the organization’s annual report began 13 years ago. This year’s report details the trend that standards set under the Clean Air Act to cleanup major air pollution sources—including coal-fired power plants, diesel engines, and SUVs—are working to drastically cut ozone (smog) and particle pollution (soot) from the air we breathe. Despite this progress, unhealthy levels of air pollution still exist and in some parts of the country worsened.
“State of the Air shows that we’re making real and steady progress in cutting dangerous pollution from the air we breathe,” said Charles D. Connor, American Lung Association President and CEO. “We owe this to the ongoing protection of the Clean Air Act. But despite these improvements, America’s air quality standards are woefully outdated, and unhealthy levels of air pollution still exist across the nation, putting the health of millions of Americans at stake.”
The job of cleaning the air is not finished. More than 40 percent of people in the United States live in areas where air pollution continues to threaten their health. That means more than 127 million people are living in counties with dangerous levels of either ozone or particle pollution that can cause wheezing and coughing, asthma attacks, heart attacks, and premature death. Those at greatest risk from air pollution include infants, children, older adults, anyone with lung diseases like asthma, people with heart disease or diabetes, people with low incomes and anyone who works or exercises outdoors.