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Home > Natural Resources > Air Quality Resources, Compliance and Solutions

LA Metro & California Air Quality Gets an F

Breathing polluted air can seriously harm your health and even shorten your life. State of the Air is a report card on air pollution in communities across the nation.

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A new report released by the American Lung Association says 91% of Californians, more than 33 million people, live in counties that received failing air-quality grades, breathing harmful levels of ozone and particle pollution.

The LA metropolitan area was ranked the worst in the country for ozone pollution.

"Ozone can shorten life, just like particle pollution," Holmes-Gen said, citing a state estimate of 19,000 deaths each year in California from those two pollutants combined.

The yearly report, "State of the Air," totals up readings for a variety of types of pollution, then ranks cities nationwide.

The Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside area was No. 1 for ground-level ozone, a common pollutant that can aggravate asthma and other lung conditions.

People who work or exercise outside face increased risk from the effects of air pollution.

The fact that Orange County didn’t rank among the worst California counties "doesn’t mean the air is healthy," said Bonnie Holmes-Gen, the Lung Association’s senior director for policy and air quality. "People in the entire region are at risk of breathing unhealthy air."

While air pollution has improved markedly on the East Coast, California also is showing improvement, Holmes-Gen said, but should take a variety of measures to improve air quality in troubled areas.

"California has been a leader in pollution control," she said. "We need to continue that trend in California."

Part of that should include broader use of plug-in electric hybrid vehicles as well as reliance on other kinds of alternative fuels.

The report covers the period from 2006 to 2008, the most recent available in complete form.

Solution: Tell your government representatives locally, in the state and nationally to clean up the air. Help strengthen the Clean Air Act by writing to your representatives.

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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