American Lung Association's 2004 State of the Air report ranks cities and counties with dirty air

ia, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Washington, DC, , Newark, Bridgeport and Baltimore
  • Southeast Atlanta, Birmingham, Knoxville, Louisville, Charleston, Raleigh-Durham and Winston-Salem
  • Midwest Chicago, Cleveland, Cincinnati, St. Louis and Detroit
  • Southwest: - Dallas-Ft. Worth, Houston and Phoenix
  • West Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Fresno, Eugene, Seattle, Provo and Salt Lake City
  • Report Highlights: Public Health Implications

    Particle pollution, complex microscopic bits that are one-thirtieth the width of a human hair, can cause serious health problems even at relatively low concentrations and are responsible for tens of thousands of premature deaths in the U.S. each year, according to the report.

    "The dangerous thing about these fine particles is that they are tiny enough to penetrate the body's natural defense systems," said Norman H. Edelman, MD, the American Lung Association's consultant for scientific affairs. "This means when you inhale these particles, they embed themselves deep in the lungs. Some may even pass through the lungs to the blood."

    "Particle pollution is like an invisible army, wreaking havoc on your body through complicated mechanisms we're still sorting out," said Edelman. "Studies link particle pollution to increased risk of asthma attacks, heart attacks and strokes, lung cancer, and premature death, to name just a few of the ways this tiny army attacks."

    People with cardiovascular diseases, children and the elderly are most vulnerable to the health risks associated with particle pollution, as are tens of millions of people who suffer from chronic lung disease such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Specifically at risk are:

    • The 16.7 million people with cardiovascular disease living in areas with unhealthy short-term particle pollution levels. Even short-term exposure several hours to several

    Contact: Cathy Renna and Liza Cichowski
    American Lung Association

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