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Nearly half of Americans live in areas with unhealthy air, according to a study by the American Lung Association. The 15th annual State of the Air report stated that while overall particle pollution continues to decline at a national level, levels of ozone were higher than in the previous year's report.
In fact, over 147 million people live in counties with unhealthy levels of ozone or particle pollution, according to the American Lung Association. Of those, 27.8 million live in 17 counties. The top five most polluted cities in terms of ozone, year-round particle pollution and short-term particle pollution are all located in California: Los Angeles-Long Beach, Visalia-Porterville-Hanford, Bakersfield, Fresno-Madera and Sacramento-Roseville.
Air pollution has been linked to a variety of health issues, such as asthma, cardiovascular harm, increased susceptibility to infections and more. When air-pollution levels are high, the American Lung Association recommends people avoid high-exertion activities outdoors.
Tips for ways to help reduce pollution on action days when ozone levels are expected to be high include: conserving electricity, refueling vehicles after dusk, limiting engine idling, and trying to avoid using chemicals — from housekeeping to lawn maintenance, or at least keeping their evaporation to a minimum. When particle pollution is expected to be high, avoiding burning materials and using gas-powered equipment is recommended.
To read the report, go to www.stateoftheair.org