Waiting to Inhale
American Lung Association Names Most Polluted Areas
The Supreme Court ruling spotlighted above is harshly ironic in light of today’s release by the American Lung Association of its annual report on the U.S. cities and counties most threatened by air pollution, which has been linked with lung disease, lung cancer, and a variety of respiratory problems. Topping both the “most smog” and “most particle pollution” lists were four cities in southern California: Los Angeles, Visalia-Porterville, Bakersfield, and Fresno. The ALA says that more than 25 percent of Americans live in areas with health-threatening levels of particle pollution and almost half in areas with too much smog. The numbers were slightly improved from last year. On the bright side, Santa Fe, N.M., has the nation’s lowest level of particle pollution, and Ames, Iowa, is the least smoggy. The report (it almost goes without saying) criticized the Bush administration for efforts to weaken the Clean Air Act.