The American Lung Association recently issued a Report entitled, “State of the Air 2013,” which looks at levels of ground-level ozone and particle pollution across the United States for the period 2009-2011. The Report uses data collected by States, tribes and federal agencies from local air monitoring devices. A variety of information about the Report can be found here.
The Report notes that stronger standards for pollutants and sources of pollution have reduced ozone and particulant pollution over the past few decades. From 1970, just before the enactment of regulatory controls under the Clean Air Act, to 2011, overall aggregate emissions of the six common pollutants regulated by the Federal Clean Air have been reduced by about 68%. At the same time, energy consumption, population and vehicle miles traveled, as well as the gross domestic product have increased substantially. Thus, the Clean Air Act and other efforts are having a positive impact. However, the findings show that approximately 42% of the people in the United States (131.8 million) live where pollution levels are often dangerous to breathe.
The Report also indicates that the category of most polluted cities generally include cities primarily on the west coast and across the Midwest. However, four such cities in the top 25 are in the southeast: Birmingham, Atlanta, Macon-Warner Robins, and Charlotte.
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