Thursday, April 21, 2016

Spikes in U.S. Air Pollution Linked to Warming Climate

Although it still has the highest ozone levels in the nation, Los Angeles reported its best air quality in 17 years. Overall, 52 percent of Americans are being exposed to polluted air caused in part by climate change impacts, and poor and minority people are the most affected. (Credit: David McNew/Getty Images) Click to Enlarge.
More than 166 million people in the U.S.—52 percent of all Americans—are exposed to unhealthy levels of either ozone or particulate pollution, putting them at risk for premature death and other serious health effects, including lung cancer, asthma attacks and developmental harm, according to a report published Wednesday by the American Lung Association.

Despite lower ozone levels and long-term averages of particulates, the annual State of the Air report suggests global warming is causing short-term spikes in air pollution. The spikes result from droughts and wildfires that temporarily increase particulate levels from dust and smoke. Wildfires occur more frequently and with greater severity in drier, hotter climates affected by global warming. Seven of the 25 most polluted cities in this year's report had their highest number of unhealthy short-term particle pollution days ever reported.

Read more at Spikes in U.S. Air Pollution Linked to Warming Climate

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