Research: Nearly half of U.S. residents breathe hazardous air

Nearly half of US residents breathe hazardous air. This is approximately 150 million people who are potentially at greater risk due to the new type of coronavirus pandemic. This conclusion was made by scientists from the American Association of Lung Diseases, whose study “Air Condition” is published on the association’s website.

In the “Air Condition” report, scientists annually evaluate the concentration of the two most common pollutants: ozone and fine particles, PM10 and PM2.5. Each of these pollutants is dangerous to health and at high concentrations can cause serious damage to the body – even death.

In a 2020 report, authors note that approximately 20.8 million US residents live in areas with high levels of air pollution, and 150 million are affected by pollution throughout the country. In the course of their work, the researchers analyzed data on the concentration of ozone and harmful particles in 2016, 2017 and 2018, the three hottest years in which air pollution reached record highs.

The main goal of the work was to find out how the concentration of harmful substances in the air has changed in comparison with those record levels. Among the cities with the most air pollution, researchers name Fresno, Madera and Hanford (California), Bakersfield (California), San Jose, San Francisco and Auckland (California), Fairbanks (Alaska), Yakimu (Washington), Los Angeles and Long Beach (California), Missoulo (Montana), Redding and Red Bluff (California), Salt Lake City and Provo-Orem (Utah), Phoenix and Mesu (Arizona).

“Air quality has improved in some areas, but our study shows that too many people still breathe unhealthy air. It is about half of the US population. The reason for this is climate change”.

Harold Wimmer, lead author of the study

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