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The State of the Air 2001
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<-- Return To Right-To-Know or Left-To-Wonder?

Click Here for the American Lung Association's State of the Air 2001 Report.

Also see EPA's latest National Air Quality & Emissions Trends Report: 1998 (the latest) that tells us how much better criteria emissions are getting in all categories including Ozone!

Introduction

Americans closed the 1990s with a great sense of expectation. We have seen advances all around us -- medical discoveries, technological innovations -- so itís only natural for us to expect progress in efforts to clean up the air that we breathe. But the American Lung Association has found, through a careful analysis of environmental data, that we are not yet winning the fight for clean air. In fact, the American Lung Associationís State of the Air 2001 finds some very disturbing trends in air quality.

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Last year, the American Lung Association initiated its State of the Air annual assessment to provide citizens with easy-to-understand air pollution summaries of the quality of the air in their communities that are based on concrete data and sound science. Air quality in counties are assigned a grade ranging from "A" through "F" based on how often their air pollution levels exceed the "unhealthful" categories of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agencyís Air Quality Index for ground-level ozone (smog) pollution. The Air Quality Index is, in turn, based on the national air quality standards. The air quality standard for ozone used as the basis for this report, 80 parts per billion averaged over an eight-hour period, was adopted by the EPA in 1997 based on the most recent health effects information. The grades in this report are assigned based on the quality of the air in areas, and do not reflect an assessment of efforts to implement controls that improve air quality.

Executive Summary

State of the Air 2000 confirmed that air pollution remains a major threat to Americans, contributing substantially to the nationís ill health burden. State of the Air 2001 finds that since last yearís report, many more people are breathing in unhealthy air:

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The number of Americans living in areas that received an "F" in this report increased by more than 9 million compared with last yearís report - from 132 million to more than 141 million. This figure represents approximately 75 percent of the nationís population who live in counties where there are ozone monitors.

More than 30 million children under age 14 -- whose lungs are particularly vulnerable to the effects of ozone-filled air -- are living in counties that received an "F" in air quality. Thatís 1.6 million more children who live in areas with "failing" air quality than last year.

More than 17 million Americans over age 65 -- another group at particular risk of suffering health problems from dirty air -- live in areas that received an "F". Thatís over one million more elderly at risk than last year.

3.6 million adults with asthma, and 1.9 million children with asthma, live in counties that received an "F" rating.

The number of U.S. counties that received an "F" in air quality jumped 15 percent from last year -- from 333 to 382 counties. That means that more than half of the counties (58%) where there are ozone monitors received a failing grade.

The total number of high ozone days in the "F" range jumped 25.3 percent in monitored counties.

State of the Air 2001 found that according to the Environmental Protection Agencyís Air Quality Index, there were a total of 12,805 "Orange" (unhealthy for sensitive groups) days in counties being monitored for ozone in 1997 to 1999 -- a jump of 25% from the State of the Air 2000 report. The number of "Red" (unhealthy) days rose 11% during the same period. "Purple" (very unhealthy) days decreased slightly, from 219 in the 2000 report to 209 in this yearís report.

Click Here for the American Lung Association's State of the Air 2001 Report.

Also see EPA's latest National Air Quality & Emissions Trends Report: 1998 (the latest) that tells us how much better criteria emissions are getting in all categories including Ozone!

<-- Return To Right-To-Know or Left-To-Wonder?

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Michael R. Meuser
Data Research & GIS Specialist

MapCruzin.com 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.

Have a project in mind? If you have data, GIS project or custom shapefile needs contact Mike.

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