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The State of the Air 2002 Report EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
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Source: American Lung Association.

Access to the Reports:
The State of the Air 2002 Report.
The State of the Air 2001 Report.
The State of the Air 2000 Report.

The State of the Air 2002 Report EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

State of the Air: 2000 focused on the years 1996-1998; State of the Air: 2001 looked at 1997-1999, and State of the Air: 2002 includes data from 1998-2000. This represents the most recent available complete ozone monitoring data that has been fully reviewed by the EPA for quality assurance at the time this report was prepared.

Ozone is not the only air pollutant that endangers the lungs. Of the long list of lung hazards, the other most pervasive pollutant is particulate matter, or soot. Particulate matter air pollution is especially harmful to people with lung disease such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema, as well as to people with heart disease. Exposure to particulate air pollution can shorten human life by months or years, as well as trigger asthma attacks and cause wheezing, coughing, and respiratory irritation in individuals with sensitive airways. A new, nationwide monitoring system is tracking the smallest and most dangerous of the fine particles, with a diameter of 2.5 microns or less, which lodge deep inside the lung when inhaled. Data from those monitors are not included in this report because three years of quality-controlled samples had not yet been returned.


State of the Air: 2002 finds that ozone continues to be a very serious problem in the United States:

  • Three-quarters of the nation�s population who reside in areas with ozone monitors�a total of 142,668,846 Americans�are breathing in unhealthy amounts of ozone pollution. This year�s report includes data from an additional 18 counties, and finds an increase of 875,000 Americans living in counties that received an �F� rating compared with last year�s report.

  • An estimated 58% of monitored counties received an �F� rating for the second year in a row.

  • The overall number of high-ozone days in unhealthy ranges dipped 3.5% from 2001 to 2002 in monitored counties, but the number jumped 18.5% between 2000 and 2002.

  • Of the10.2 million American adults with asthma who live in counties with ozone monitors, 7.6 million�more than 70%�lived in counties that received an �F� rating in ozone pollution. Of the 2.6 million children living in counties with monitors who had an asthma attack last year, 1.9 million�more than 70%�live in counties receiving an �F� rating.

  • Of the almost 2 million Americans with emphysema living in those monitored counties, 1.5 million live in counties with an �F� rating in ozone pollution, while of the 6.3 million Americans with chronic bronchitis, 4.7 million live in �F�- rated counties.

  • Of the nation�s over-65 population who live in these monitored counties, almost three quarters live in counties that received an �F� rating in ozone pollution.


Access to the Reports:
The State of the Air 2002 Report.
The State of the Air 2001 Report.
The State of the Air 2000 Report.

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Michael R. Meuser
Data Research & GIS Specialist is an independent firm specializing in GIS project development and data research. We created the first U.S. based interactive toxic chemical facility maps on the internet in 1996 and we have been online ever since. Learn more about us and our services.

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