The 15th annual “State of the Air” report shows that a pollutant that recently was found to cause lung cancer, still remains as a significant health problem. Ozone is the most common air pollutant in the country, and also happens to be one of the hardest to reduce. This report shows that levels of smog in 2014 are much worse than they were in 2013.
Twenty-two of the 25 most ozone-polluted cities had more high ozone days on average this year than the year before, and thirteen of those 25 cities with the worst year-round particle pollution reached their lowest levels ever.
As previously stated, Los Angeles has the worst ozone pollution levels in the country. But, over the last 15 years, it has erased more than one third of its unhealthy ozone level days. Salt Lake City, Utah and San Diego, CA also a less amount of unhealthy ozone days.
Bangor, Maine, Fort Myers, FL, and Salinas, CA were named some of the cleanest cities because they had zero days of unhealthy levels of ozone.
Below are some tips that the American Lung Association has given to help improve the air that people breathe.
- Clean up power plants: The EPA needs to reduce carbon pollution, the ALA says: Ozone and particle pollution that blows across state lines must be controlled. In the next year, the Obama administration has pledged to set standards for carbon pollution from new and existing power plants.
- Strengthen the outdated ozone standards: The EPA needs to set a strong, health-based standard to limit ozone pollution, the association urges. Strong standards will drive the needed cleanup of ozone across the nation.
- Clean up new wood-burning devices: The EPA needs to issue strong standards to clean up new wood stoves, outdoor wood boilers and other residential wood-burning devices.
- Fund the work to provide healthy air: Congress needs to adequately fund the work of the EPA and the states to monitor and protect the nation from air pollution, ALA adds.
- Protect the Clean Air Act: Congress needs to ensure that the protections under the Clean Air Act remain strong and enforced.