Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Air pollution in United States - Quick facts

According to the recent epidemiological studies more than 500,000 Americans die each year from cardiopulmonary disease linked to breathing fine particle air pollution.

A recent economic study of the health impacts and associated costs of air pollution in the Los Angeles Basin and San Joaquin Valley of Southern California has showed that more than 3800 people die prematurely (approximately 14 years earlier than normal) each year because air pollution levels violate federal standards.

The Clean Air Act requires EPA to set National Ambient Air Quality Standards for six common air pollutants: Ozone, Particulate Matter, Carbon Monoxide, Nitrogen Oxides, Sulfur Dioxide, Lead. Of these six air pollutants, particle pollution and ground-level ozone are the most widespread health threats.

The worst ever incident of air pollution in the United States of America occurred in Donora, Pennsylvania in 1948, when 20 people died and over 7,000 were injured.

The National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) are standards established by the United States Environmental Protection Agency under authority of the Clean Air Act that apply for outdoor air throughout the country. They are designed to not only protect human health but also the public welfare.

Air quality index describes a number used by government agencies to characterize the quality of the air at a given location.

The report from 2009 has stated that six out of ten Americans live in urban areas where air pollution can cause major health problems.

Pittsburgh, Los Angeles and Bakersfield are currently the most polluted US cities when it comes to air pollution.

Ozone is the most widespread form of air pollution in United States. Ozone can cause wheezing, coughing and asthma attacks, and breathing ozone pollution can also significantly shorten lives.

Most polluted US cities -2009 list:

By short-term particle pollution:
1. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
2. Fresno, California
3. Bakersfield, California
4. Los Angeles, California.
5. Birmingham, Alabama
6. Salt Lake City, Utah
7. Sacramento, California
8. Logan, Utah
9. Chicago, Illinois
9. Detroit, Michigan

By ozone pollution:
1. Los Angeles, California
2. Bakersfield, California
3. Visalia, California
4. Fresno, California
5. Houston, Texas
6. Sacramento, California.
7. Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas
8. Charlotte, North Carolina
9. Phoenix, Arizona
10. El Centro, California

By year-round particle pollution:
1. Bakersfield, California
2. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
3. Los Angeles, California
4. Visalia, California
5. Birmingham, Alabama
6. Hanford, California
7. Fresno, California
8. Cincinnati, Ohio
9. Detroit, Michigan
10. Cleveland, Ohio

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