Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Dirty Ten

With all this talk about climate change, it can be easy to overlook the impact of old-fashioned smog. The American Lung Association aims to curb that tendency with their release of the Top Ten cities for polluted air. Here they are, according to the AP:
The association found that the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside metropolitan area had the worst air based on 2003 through 2005 figures.
The Pittsburgh area was ranked as the nation's second most polluted metropolitan area followed by Bakersfield, Calif., Birmingham, Ala., Detroit and Cleveland. Visalia, Calif., Cincinnati, Indianapolis and St. Louis rounded out the top 10.
The news wasn't all bad for Los Angeles. Despite the dubious distinction, the number of days residents breathed the nation's worst ozone levels was fewer than in previous years.
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- Pollution levels in the United States are getting both better and worse, according to an annual report tracking the nation's air quality prepared Tuesday by the American Lung Association.
The upside is that smog levels declined nationwide between 2003 and 2005, aided by the appearance of more pollution controls on smokestacks, according to the report, called "State of the Air: 2007."
The bad news is that the number of places in the United States reporting unhealthy levels of soot grew over the same period, the report found. Soot describes the tiny particles of pollution generated by burning fossil fuels.
This "ominous trend," found particularly in the Eastern states., is worrisome because soot pollution can increase hospital visits for heart and asthma problems, the American Lung Association said.
The honors for the cleanest cities and metropolitan areas went to the Fargo-Wahpeton area spanning North Dakota and Minnesota; Rapid City, S.D.; and Salinas, Calif. These were the only locations to make all three lists for lowest levels of short-term soot, long-term soot and smog levels.
IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light. Visit us at www.irejn.org.

No comments: