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Recent Study Examines Effects of Air Pollution on Lung Conditions

Posted on May 26, 2012

In April 2012, the American Lung Association (ALA) released its annual “State of the Air” report. This report details the findings of research conducted all over the United States to determine the levels of air pollution in our cities.

While cities nationwide showed improvements in air quality overall since last year, American Lung Association president Charles Conner is still concerned. “’State of the Air’ shows we are making real and steady progress in cutting dangerous pollution from the air we breathe,” he said. “But despite these improvements, America’s air quality standards are woefully outdated, and unhealthy levels of air pollution still exist across the nation.”

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences agrees. According to their website, their researchers have found that, “long-term exposure to air pollutants increases the risk of respiratory illnesses such as allergies, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD], and lung cancer.”

Data for the report were gathered by placing air quality monitors all over the U.S. and totaling the number of COPD and related diseases existing in various cities. 

The following cities ranked as the top ten most polluted. The ALA says that over 40% of the American population lives in areas where the pollution is so bad it makes breathing dangerous.

1. Bakersfield, California
2. Fresno, California 
3. Hanford, California
4. Los Angeles, California
5. Modesto, California
6. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
7. Salt Lake City, Utah
8. Logan, Utah
9. Fairbanks, Alaska
10. Merced, California

If you live in a polluted area and want to protect yourself, the ALA suggests that you avoid exercising near high vehicle traffic areas, avoid smoke and reduce the amount of fireplace use.

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John L. Keefe
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