Study: More Americans Are Breathing Unhealthy Air

April 25, 2019

The American Lung Association’s annual State of the Air report revealed that  7 million more Americans are breathing polluted air compared to last year’s report.

The report found that 141.1 million Americans—four out of 10—live in counties with air containing unhealthy levels of particle pollution or ozone. Eight U.S. areas recorded the most days with unhealthy amounts of pollution: Fairbanks, AK; Missoula, MT; Bismarck, ND, Bend-Pineville, OR; Yakima and the Spokane-Spokane Valley-Coeur d’Alene area in WA; and Salinas and Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA.

Particle pollution is the mix of solid and liquid droplets in the air which comes in the form of dirt, dust, soot, or smoke. Pollution comes from coal- and natural gas-fired plants, cars, agriculture, unpaved roads, and construction sites.

Climate change contributes to air pollution as it results in higher temperatures, drought, floods, and other extreme weather that makes it harder to breathe. Wildfires, another result of climate change, also are a large source of air pollution.