Approximately 9 Million More Americans Exposed to Air Pollution in 2018 - 2020

April 21, 2022
Armand Butera

Armand Butera is the assistant editor for HCPLive. He attended Fairleigh Dickinson University and graduated with a degree in communications with a concentration in journalism. Prior to graduating, Armand worked as the editor-in-chief of his college newspaper and a radio host for WFDU. He went on to work as a copywriter, freelancer, and human resources assistant before joining HCPLive. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, writing, traveling with his companion and spinning vinyl records. Email him at abutera@mjhlifesciences.com.

Dr. Stephanie Lovinsky-Desir speaks on the staggering new data from the 23rd annual "State of the Air" report by the American Lung Association.

Today, the American Lung Association released the 23rd annual “State of the Air” report, which detailed the nationwide exposure to ozone and particle pollution in the United States from 2018 - 2020.

The new report revealed that approximately 9 million more people were affected by particle pollution since last year’s report, with more reported days with “very unhealthy” and “hazardous” air quality than ever published in the 2-decade history of the State of the Air.

The “State of the Ai report functions as a “report card” of sorts, one that tracks and grades exposure to levels of short-term spikes in particle pollution across the country.

Additionally, the report is defined by 2 grades for particle pollution including “short-term” and “year-round”.

Regarding short-term pollution, the 2022 report found that roughly 63.2 million people lived in counties with an “F” grade for unhealthy spikes in particle pollution, with 4 of the top 4 most polluted cities located in California.

Additionally, more than 20.3 million people were reported to live in 1 of 21 counties where year-round particle pollution levels were worse than the national air quality limit, with all of the top 5 most polluted cities being located in California.

The report also noted that 122.3 million people reside in counties with failing grades for ozone pollution. Despite being 860,000 fewer people than last year’s report, the numbers remain alarming.

Once again, the State of the Air report detailed the staggering affect of climate change on air quality in the US.

For this episode of DocTalk, Managing Editor Kevin Kunzmann spoke with Stephanie Lovinsky-Desir, MD, MS, Volunteer Medical Spokesperson for the American Lung Association, who further elucidated the data found in the report.

As a pediatric pulmonologist, Lovinsky-Desir details the notable burden that air pollution has on children. She also speaks to the associations between air quality and cardiovascular disease, the influence of Clean Air Act on better air quality, informing patients on how to avoid certain pollutants, and what can be done to reduce carbon footprints on both personal and communal levels.

“Ultimately, I think the goal is for clean, healthy air, and I think we all as Americans deserve to breathe clean, healthy air,” Lovinsky-Desir said. “So advocating for that on multiple levels, and making sure that we are partnering with the people who are most likely contributing to the emissions, I think is going to be the key. It's a multi-pronged approach. It's not just one specific group that is responsible for making this change.”


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