|The report shows some improvements, |
but millions of people live and work in
areas where the air remains unhealthy.
The 2014 State of the Air report out Wednesday from the American Lung Association presents a good news/bad news mix showing improvements in America's air quality compared with previous decades, but more recently an increase in ozone readings since its 2013 report.
Bottom line, the association says, is that 147.6 million people live in areas where air quality remains unhealthy, almost 16 million more than the 2013 report.
The report averaged year-round and 24-hour levels of particle pollution, a mix of tiny solid and liquid particles that come from coal-fired plants and vehicle exhaust, and measured ozone, or smog.
Particle and ozone pollution increase the risk of heart disease, lung cancer and asthma attacks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Though some improved, all of the most polluted cities have year-round particle levels that violate health standards, according to the report.
Cities that ranked as the cleanest cities in 2010-2012 based on measures of ozone and short- and long-term particle pollution were Bangor, Maine; Bismark, N.D.; Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla.; and Salinas, Calif.
In terms of air quality, there have been some wins, such as a court case upholding standards limiting power plant emissions of toxic air pollutants and the Supreme Court's decision on cross-state air pollution. The next step is the Environmental Protection Agency making a decision on a healthier national ozone standard.
As the summer heats up, people can check air quality online at AirNow.
This article has been edited for length.
Source: USA Today
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