The quality of air that most Americans breathe is better than it used but that it still iffy. That’s according to the American Lung Association, which says that 166 million of us live in places where ozone levels or particle pollution is not good.
The Guardian reports that soot and smoke from wildfires out west — caused by droughts — is one of the reasons that air quality is slow to improve. It references the lung association’s 17 annual “state of the air” that says the end result could be more lung cancer, asthma attacks, heart disease and reproductive problems.
“Six of the 10 worst US cities for short-term pollution are in California, which has been in the grip of an historic drought. Bakersfield, California, was named the most polluted city for both short-term and year-round particle pollution, while Los Angeles-Long Beach was the worst for ozone pollution,” says the Guardian report.
“Small particles that escape from the burning of coal and from vehicle tail pipes can bury themselves deep in people’s lungs, causing various health problems,” it adds. “Ozone and other harmful gases can also be expelled from these sources, triggering asthma attacks and even premature death.”