Washington, – More than 40% of people in the US -141.1 million- live exposed to air pollution, putting their health and their lives at risk, revealed the annual report on air quality of the American Lung Association released today.
The document, “States of the Air 2019”, takes as reference the period between the years 2015 and 2017, the most recent with reliable data on air quality.
The report reveals that 141.1 million people lived exposed to levels harmful to the health of ozone or particles, which represents an increase of 7.2 million from the same report of the previous year.
“The report clearly shows a disturbing trend in air quality after years of progress: in many areas of the United States, air quality is getting worse,” said the president of the association, Harold Wimmer.
The document analyzes the areas with the most contaminating particles, originated among other factors by the multiple forest fires that have affected the USA, diesel engines, coal power plants or wood combustion devices.
These particles, which lodge in the lungs, “can enter the bloodstream, triggering asthma attacks, heart attacks and strokes, and can cause lung cancer.”
According to the association, 49.6 million people in the US they lived exposed to temporary peaks of polluting particles, while 20.5 million inhabited cities with high levels throughout the year.
Among the cities and their most affected metropolitan areas are San Francisco and Los Angeles, in California; Cleveland (Ohio), Seattle (Washington State), Salt Lake City (Utah), Fairbanks (Alaska) or Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.
With regard to excessive levels of ozone, the report includes a greater number of people exposed than in the previous studies, probably due to the increase in temperatures, which facilitates their training and makes cleaning difficult.
Inhalation of ozone damages the lungs and can cause respiratory problems, coughing and asthma attacks.
According to the study, 134 million people live in areas with ozone levels that are too high, between Los Angeles and San Francisco, but also include New York, Houston (Texas), Phoenix (Arizona) or Sacramento and San Diego (California). .
The report also highlights cities with better air quality to Burlington (Vermont), Honolulu (Hawaii) or Bangor (Maine).
“This increase in unhealthy air is revealing, and points to the reality that the country must do more to protect the public from serious, even fatal, damage,” said Wimmer. (EFE).