Health Effects of Ozone and Particle Pollution

Air Pollution Remains a Major Danger
to the Health of Children and Adults
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Two types of air pollution dominate in the U.S.: ozone and particle pollution1 These two pollutants threaten the health and the lives of millions of Americans. Thanks to the Clean Air Act, the U.S. has far less of both pollutants now than in the past. Still, more than 147.6 million people live in counties where monitors show unhealthy levels of one or both—meaning the air a family breathes could shorten life or cause lung cancer.

So what are ozone and particle pollution?

Ozone Pollution

It may be hard to imagine that the most widespread pollutant in the U.S. is also one of the most dangerous—and invisible. Continue

Particle Pollution

Ever look at dirty truck exhaust?

Overwhelming evidence shows that particle pollution—like that coming from that exhaust smoke—can kill. Particle pollution can increase the risk of heart disease, lung cancer and asthma attacks and can interfere with the growth and work of the lungs. Continue

Focusing on Children's Health

Children face special risks from air pollution because their lungs are growing and because they are so active. Continue

Disparities in the Impact of Air Pollution and Living Near Highways

The burden of air pollution is not evenly shared. Poorer people and some racial and ethnic groups are among those who often face higher exposure to pollutants. Continue

How to Protect Yourself from Ozone and Particle Pollution

You can take steps to protect yourself and your family. Continue


1 Ozone and particle pollution are the most widespread, but they aren't the only serious air pollutants. Others include carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide, as well as scores of toxins such as mercury, arsenic, benzene, formaldehyde, and acid gases. However, the monitoring networks are not as widespread nationwide for the other pollutants.

FACT: The American Lung Association fights for reduced power plant emissions - especially carbon - and stronger safeguards.

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