Report: Air Quality Low in Almost Half of California Counties
Twenty-six counties in California received failing grades in clean air quality, which is linked to health complications such as respiratory problems and diabetes, according to a report released Tuesday by the American Lung Association, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reports (Greenberg, Long Beach Press-Telegram, 5/1).
The eighth annual report analyzed pollution data from 2003 to 2005 in U.S. counties that had air pollution monitors (San Jose Mercury News, 5/1).
With regard to California, the report found that:
- 16 counties ranked among the worst in the nation for ozone pollution;
- Nine counties ranked among the worst in the U.S. for short-term particle pollution; and
- Seven counties ranked among the worst in the country for year-round particle pollution (Sacramento Bee, 5/1).
Particle pollution is a mix of small solid and liquid particles, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Health researchers say such pollution can shorten lives, contribute to heart disease, lung cancer and asthma attacks, and interfere with lung development and performance.
The report said that high levels of ozone attack the lung tissue and can damage both pulmonary and cardiovascular systems (Kay, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/1).
The most vulnerable populations to air pollution are children, senior citizens, asthmatics, people who work or exercise outdoors and people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (Schwartz, AP/San Jose Mercury News, 5/1). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.