4-in-10 Americans Breathe Polluted Air

Millions of people across the globe stayed indoors for more than a year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Many experts believed that the lack of vehicular traffic meant that air quality would significantly improve.

As it turns out, more than 100 million Americans are still breathing in heavily polluted air. In fact, according to a recent report by the American Lung Association, more than four in 10 Americans live with polluted air…

The report focused on two of the most widespread and dangerous air pollutants: ground-level ozone and fine particulate matter.

Researchers examined data collected by federal, state, local and tribal governments in 2017, 2018 and 2019. These are the years with the most recent quality-assured air pollution data.

Cities with the worst particle pollution year-round included Fairbanks, Alaska and several cities in California, including Los Angeles and Bakersfield. The researchers noted that California has consistently placed high in previous lists. This is surprising since California consistently produces more green energy than other states.

The researchers said high air pollution levels in California may be attributed to the shipping and trucking activities in the region. The mountain ranges in California also create “bowls” that can trap air pollution. Additionally, wildfires, which generate thick plumes of smoke, occur every year in California.

The report also showed that the warmer temperatures felt in recent years can make ground-level ozone more likely to form. Ground-level ozone forms when heat and sunlight react with pollutants emitted by cars, industrial plants and wildfire smoke. Without wind or rain, ground-level ozone can build up. Read more…

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