American Lung Association Releases 2013 Report on Air Quality
14th annual State of the Air 2013 report shows tremendous progress; challenges
LOS ANGELES, April 24, 2013
LOS ANGELES, April 24,2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- This morning, the
American Lung Association released State of the Air 2013, an annual report on
air quality which lists both the cleanest and most polluted areas in the
country. This year's report shows significant progress in efforts to reduce
ozone and particulate pollution, with air quality in many areas of California
at its cleanest since the Lung Association's annual report began 14 years ago.
The findings reinforce the effectiveness of the state's strong clean air laws
and progressive initiatives including incentive programs that help reduce
diesel emissions and promote cleaner vehicles and fuels.
"The State of the Air 2013 report shows that California is continuing the
long-term trend to cleaner and much healthier air," said Jane Warner,
President and CEO of the American Lung Association in California. "This
progress in cleaning up air pollution demonstrates that our clean air laws are
working. However, our report also shows that air pollution continues to put
lives at risk throughout the state. We must step up our efforts to cut
pollution so all Californians can breathe clean, healthy air. "
Nearly ninety percent of Californians still live in counties plagued with
unhealthy air, particularly in the San Joaquin Valley, Los Angeles, Inland
Empire, and Sacramento. That means people are at greater risk for asthma
attacks, heart attacks, and premature death. Although many counties show lower
levels of air pollution compared to last year's report, California cities
still dominate lists of the most polluted areas in the nation for ozone (smog)
as well as short-term and annual particle pollution. Specifically, of the top
ten cities with the worst air pollution, California municipalities rank as
Ozone Pollution Short-Term Particle Annual Particle
7 out of the Top 10 6 out of the Top 10 8 out of the Top 10
#1 Los Angeles-Long Beach- #1 Bakersfield-Delano #1 Bakersfield-Delano
#2 Visalia-Porterville #2 Fresno-Madera #1 Merced (tied with
#3 Bakersfield-Delano #3 Hanford-Corcoran #3 Fresno-Madera
#4 Fresno-Madera #4 Los Angeles-Long #4 Hanford-Corcoran
#4 Los Angeles-Long
#5 Hanford-Corcoran #5 Modesto Beach-Riverside (tied
#6 Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Yuba #8 Merced #6 Modesto
#10 El Centro
#9 El Centro
Despite these rankings, many California cities continue to show significant
improvements in reducing unhealthy ozone and particulate pollution.
California's slow yet steady progress toward healthy air can be attributed to
its strong history of leadership on air and climate policies, including the
leadership of Governor Jerry Brown. Governor Brown's work to champion zero
emission vehicle and clean fuel policies, including the ZEV Action Plan and
California's alternative fuels standard (Low Carbon Fuel Standard), is moving
California forward to cleaner air and bringing more transportation choices.
The Los Angeles region in particular shows noteworthy success in reducing both
ozone and particulate pollution over the 14 years of the State of the Air
report. Ozone levels in the region have fallen by 36 percent since the first
State of the Air report in 2000, with unhealthy ozone days dropping from 190
to 122 days during that time period. Annual levels of particle pollution have
also dropped by 43 percent, and short term levels dropped by two-thirds,
despite recent fluctuations. The Los Angeles region now is very close to
meeting the federal annual particle pollution standard. Dramatic reductions
in ozone and particle pollution have also occurred in the San Francisco Bay
Area. While the San Joaquin Valley still struggles with particle pollution,
most parts of the Valley have seen marked reductions in ozone pollution.
California's pollution problems are primarily caused by emissions from
transportation sources including cars, diesel trucks and buses, locomotives,
ships, agricultural and construction equipment. Currently, the American Lung
Association in California is sponsoring Senate Bill 11 (Pavley) and Assembly
Bill 8 (Perea and Skinner), two bills that will help clean the air and improve
public health by extending two highly successful California air quality
incentive programs for another decade and raising over $200 million in
incentive funds annually. These programs support the transition to cleaner
vehicles and the clean alternative fuels needed to meet state clean air and
climate targets and provide near-term benefits by cutting toxic diesel
pollution. These programs are an important complement to the state's
regulatory framework because they provide financial incentives for early
introduction of clean vehicles and technologies.
Air pollution problems also are caused by emissions from oil refineries,
manufacturing plants, and residential wood burning. In addition, California's
warm climate promotes the formation of ozone pollution, and valleys and
mountains in the central and eastern portions of the state trap pollution
where it can linger for days and put residents at risk for the onset or
exacerbation of lung disease.
"Ozone and particle pollution contribute to thousands of hospitalizations,
emergency room visits, and deaths every year and our most vulnerable citizens
are most at risk – children, the elderly and those with lung disease such as
asthma, lung cancer, chronic bronchitis, or emphysema," said David Tom Cooke,
M.D., Assistant Professor, Section Head of General Thoracic Surgery, Division
of Cardiothoracic Surgery, University of California, Davis Medical Center and
Governing Board Member for the American Lung Association in California.
"Cleaner air saves lives, and can lead to better health and quality of life
The Lung Association led the fight for a new, national air quality standard
that strengthened outdated limits on annual levels of particle pollution,
announced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last December.
Now the Lung Association is fighting for a strong national clean car standard
and defending the Federal Clean Air Act, our nation's bedrock clean air law.
Thanks to national air pollution standards set under the Clean Air Act and the
EPA enforcement of these standards, as well as California's own groundbreaking
air quality policies, the U.S. has seen continued reductions in air pollution.
"California must continue to demonstrate leadership in achieving clean and
healthy air for all residents," said Warner. "This can be done by supporting
statewide initiatives such as Senate Bill 11 and Assembly Bill 8, and by
making an effort to reduce air pollution in our own communities. Driving less,
using cleaner transportation options like hybrid cars and electric vehicles,
and avoiding wood burning, can make a huge difference in improving the air we
breathe." For more information on the American Lung Association State of the
Air Report and a list of steps individuals can take to clean the air, the
public should visit www.lung.org/california.
About the American Lung Association
Now in its second century, the American Lung Association is the leading
organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing
lung disease. With your generous support, the American Lung Association is
"Fighting For Air" through research, education, and advocacy. For more
information about the American Lung Association or to support the work it
does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or visit www.lung.org/california.
Media Contact: Maria Bernabe, (o) 310-735-9184, (c) 818-625-1810,
SOURCE American Lung Association in California
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