“State of the Air” Report Finds People of Color Are 61% More Likely to Live in Areas With Poor Air Quality

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Chicago, IL — The 2022 “State of the Air” report, released earlier this month by the American Lung Association, finds that despite progress, an unacceptable number of Americans are still living in areas with poor air quality that could impact their health. Nearly 9 million more Americans are affected by deadly particle pollution than last year’s report; and the burden of air pollution is unevenly shared as communities of color continue to be disproportionately exposed to unhealthy air.

The Lung Association’s 23rd annual air quality “report card” tracks and grades Americans’ exposure to unhealthy levels of short-term spikes in particle pollution (also known as soot), annual particle pollution, and ground-level ozone air pollution (also known as smog) over a three-year period.

“This year’s ‘State of the Air’ report shows an alarming number of people are living in areas with poor air quality that could impact their health. As a pulmonologist living in Southern California, I see first-hand the impacts of air pollution, and specifically particle pollution from wildfires, on my patients,” said Cedric “Jamie” Rutland, M.D., national volunteer medical spokesperson for the American Lung Association. “In addition, communities of color are disproportionately exposed to unhealthy air. The report found that people of color were 61% more likely than white people to live in a county with a failing grade for at least one pollutant, and 3.6 times as likely to live in a county with a failing grade for all three pollutants, which means more asthma that can be life-threatening in children and adults.” Continue Reading

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