American Lung Association Releases 2008 Air Report – L.A. Improves and Pittsburgh Worsens


The American Lung Association released this year’s State of the Air report just in time for May, which is Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. The ALA’s State of the Air tracks short-term and year-round particle pollution and ozone pollution throughout the country. This year, the report shows one in 10 of us lives where all three kinds of pollution are at unhealthy levels. One-third of us live with unhealthy ozone pollution.

Right about here is where I’d normally criticize the Bush administration and the EPA, but instead I’ll go ahead and quote ALA President and CEO Bernadette Toomey from the press release:

If we were to measure the number of unhealthy days against the new ozone standard, it would show that ozone pollution is worse than the report indicates. . . . Even with these stricter ozone standards, Americans are being denied the health protection they deserve under the Clean Air Act.

More findings:

Worst Short Term Particle-Pollution

1. Pittsburgh, PA
2. Los Angeles/Long Beach/Riverside, CA (although overall air quality improved in this area)
3. Fresno/Madera, CA
4. Bakersfield, CA
5. Birmingham, AL

Worst Year-Round Particle Pollution

1. Los Angeles/Long Beach/Riverside, CA
2. Pittsburgh, PA
3. Bakersfield, CA
4. Birmingham, AL
5. Visalia/Porterville, CA

Worst Ozone Pollution

1. Los Angeles/Long Beach/Riverside, CA
2. Bakersfield, CA
3. Visalia/Porterville, CA
4. Houston, TX
5. Fresno/Madera, CA

How’s your air? My county gets a “B” in ozone pollution and an “incomplete” for particle pollution. In ill wind blows over from the larger city right next to me, though, as it received a “D” for ozone and an “F” for year-round particle pollution. In fact, it has the very worst numbers for particulate matter in my entire state.

In honor of Asthma and Allergy Month, check out your community’s grades and send this letter for cleaner air to your Congress members and Senators. You know this Asthma Mom’s going to.

12 responses to “American Lung Association Releases 2008 Air Report – L.A. Improves and Pittsburgh Worsens”

  1. I live in a tiny town in northwest Colorado. Even here, on hot summer days you can see an line of pollution. This has only happened within the last few years. How long have we known about this and how long is it going to take us to do something?

    Dagny McKinley
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  2. Debi Pavlou says:

    In 1991 my son was a ten years old and suffering from asthma due to allergy. The list starts he was allergic to every known North American tree, dust, dirt, mold and grass the list was two pages long. He was on three inhalers, shots, breathing treatments pills and the emergency room staff knew me on a first name basis. I came through the doors and they just took him from my arms. His chest was going concave struggling to get air and I lived on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
    Then one day his allergist he called me into his office and did not want to prescribe any more drugs for my son and the news he had for me was he did some research and it meant I would have to move to Maui or Key West, Fl.. I left the office started making the preparation for the move to Key West. I flew down to check the area out found an apartment and a job in one day. Went back to Md. sold, borrowed and did whatever I could to get money for at least a stay for two years. I was going to work. I was working three jobs in Md. just to keep up with house hold bills and health and hospital bills. I was a single parent with no health insurance for my son and I knew I would need money in the bank. I was divorced and that is another story why there was no support from his father. I got a twenty four foot truck with auto transport and off we went. My family thought I was going through a second childhood, and suffering from denial but I just had to give it a try. It worked with in three weeks he was keeping up with the boys his own age. Tan, playing and no more medications I kept the serum for his shots in the refrigerator and the inhalers and pills in a lock box under my bed for one year. Then we had a party and took the medications to hospital to dispose of and life was good.
    We lived there until 1999 and I moved north but he stayed. He came to visit in 2001 in Cary, NC for about six months and it started all over first inhalers and then the pills. I told him to leave and go back to Florida and he did. He went to college in Orlando, graduated and then got married. He settled in Kissimmee and no problems with allergies. Any farther north it becomes a problem. It is now 2008 he is grown man filled out and you would never known he was runt at one time in his life. I was blessed to be able to give him the chance to escape from what triggered his asthma in Maryland. I pray that other children and parents get the chance I got to help my child.
    The only down side is I now have Multiple Sclerosis was diagnosed in 2000 so I am a believer in the air pollution in this world. The pollution triggers allergies in our bodies and in turn the cells that fight off what the cells consider invaders to do harm but the end result is healthy functioning parts of our bodies are destroyed by these cells. Man creates these allergens from fertilizers, plant emissions, and this is another long list and another source the additives in food and the hormones and antibiotics in livestock. Where does it end?

  3. Amy says:

    Hi Debi, and thanks for your story.
    That’s great that moving helped your son and he could find a place to live that improved his health. I know that’s not the case for lots of asthmatics—especially ones like my daughter, who aren’t allergen-induced. Her disease is intrinsic, so she’ll have problems anywhere, but thankfully they’re not too bad anymore. (nothing like you’ve described here)

    I completely agree with you about pollution, though. Scientists warn that as the world heats up, allergens will increase, and I just wonder what that means for places like Knoxville, which already have an enormous allergen load. I don’t know much about MS, but I also think industrialized countries like the U.S. have gotten so far off track and relied too much on factory farming, synthetic fertilizers and chemicals, and we are now paying a price. The scary part is, how long are we going to pay it?

  4. Carole says:

    Hi ~ I strongly suspect that our son has asthma. We live in Riverside, CA (yep, top of the lists up there) and yet I notice in this entry that you mention allergist-triggered versus intrinsic asthma. How can they tell the difference? Testing?

    My main question is whether living in Riverside is contributing to our son developing asthma – he is only 3.

    Any thoughts are appreciated.


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