State of the Air 2011 Press Highlights: National and Local Coverage

American Lung Association’s State of the Air 2011 report comes amid congressional efforts to stop the Environmental Protection Agency from using the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. The report ranks cities, counties and states for their amount of ozone or smog—as well as particle pollution such as soot and ash, both of which can lead to asthma attacks, emergency room visits and premature death.
USA Today

A little over half of all Americans—154.2 million people—live in areas where levels of ozone and particulate pollution make it sometimes unhealthy to breathe. Cars and trucks, fossil-fueled power plants, factories—they all contribute to making our air dangerous.

About 48 percent of U.S. residents live in counties where smog (ozone) is too high, 20 percent live in areas where there are too many short-term spikes in pollution and 6 percent live in areas with harmful year-round soot (particle pollution). Nearly 17 million Americans live in areas afflicted by all three air pollution hazards. This worries scientists since research suggests air pollution threatens human health — not just the lungs.

Hazy, dirty air on a hot summer day is a visible sign of air pollution in America’s cities. But you can’t see ozone—the main component of smog—and a lung irritant that aggravates asthma and COPD. In the top 10 worst cities for ozone the air can be dangerous to breathe, according to the “State of the Air 2011” report. View pictures of the dirtiest, the cleanest and a few smoggy surprises.

Smog and soot levels have dropped significantly in Southern California over the last decade, but the Los Angeles region still has the highest levels of ozone nationwide, violating federal health standards an average of 137 days a year.
Los Angeles Times

The American Lung Association's study ranks the air quality of 900 counties and more than 200 U.S. Census-defined Metropolitan Statistical Areas and Combined Statistical Areas--cities and their surrounding suburbs--where an air pollution monitor is present.

Pollution is down in the U.S., with air quality showing improvement in all cities listed in the American Lung Association's annual report on air quality. Time to celebrate? Not quite. The report indicates that 60 million Americans - roughly one in five - live in areas with unhealthy spikes in pollution levels, and 18 million live with unhealthy levels year-round.

While Honolulu and Santa Fe had the best overall air, cities with the foulest air were broken down into three categories. The worst three for ozone pollution were Los Angeles, Bakersfield and Visalia, all in California. Bakersfield and fellow California city Fresno, along with Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, had the most short-term particle pollution, while Bakersfield, Los Angeles and Phoenix had the worst year-round particle pollution.

The State of the Air 2011 report lists 25 major metropolitan areas with the worst air quality. Most of the cities on this so-called "black-list" are in the western state of California. The survey's air-quality rankings measured and compared levels of ozone and particulates, the two most common types of air pollution.
Voice of America

The American Lung Association's newest State of the Air report is a bit like getting a 53 on your math test after you got a 49 on your last one. Yes, you've improved, but you’re still failing the class. 
Huffington Post

In the American Lung Association's State of the Air 2011 report released Tuesday, the Pittsburgh area ranked as the nation's third most polluted area for short-term particle pollution for the second year in a row. It ranked behind only the Bakersfield-Delano and Fresno-Madera areas of California.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The bad news: Bexar County’s air quality once again received an “F” from the American Lung Association’s annual report on the nation’s air pollution.

The good news: the county saw less than half the number of “orange” ozone alert days, according to the State of the Air 2011 than were counted in last year’s report.

An orange alert means the air is unhealthy for sensitive groups, such as people with lung diseases like asthma and emphysema, and children and the elderly.
San Antonio Express

The American Lung Association's annual ranking of air quality in American states, cities and counties wasn't kind to Ohio, Cleveland or Cuyahoga County again this year. But then, the air pollution isn't exactly kind to our lungs—here or across half the nation—according to the organization.
Cleveland Plain-Dealer


SOTA 2011 Survey