Just how dirty is the air you breathe?
The American Lung Association (ALA) has released their annual report, State of the Air 2011, highlighting which cities have the worst air for ozone pollution, short-term particle pollution, and year-long particle pollution. All of these pollutants present problems for the health of the people living near these regions (and sometimes, not near these regions).
This slideshow highlights the 11 cities (there were some ties) ranked in the SOTA 2011's list of "10 Cities Most Polluted by Year-Round Particle Pollution." According to the report, over 18.5 million people in the U.S. live in a region with unhealthy levels of year-round particle pollution.
From the report:
These people live in areas where chronic levels are regularly a threat to their health. Even when levels are fairly low, exposure to particles over time can increase risk of hospitalization for asthma, damage to the lungs and, significantly, increase the risk of premature death.
The ALA recently reported that particle pollution from power plants kills approximately 13,000 people per year.
Pollution hazards may be exacerbated for people who are part of an "at-risk" group, such as those with asthma, chronic lung disease, cardiovascular disease, or diabetes. The ALA has also found that people who live in poverty may face higher risk from air pollution. Click here for more information on the SOTA 2011 report, or visit the SOTA website.
Total Population: 510,385 Under 18: 149,225 65 and Over: 53,538 Pediatric Asthma: 9,899 Adult Asthma: 28,322 Chronic Bronchitis: 15,267 Emphysema: 7,192 Cardiovascular Disease: 125,454 Diabetes: 32,878 Poverty: 85,583 (Flickr/Tom Hilton)
Total Population: 1,395,634 Under 18: 335,150 65 and Over: 177,354 Pediatric Asthma: 31,918 Adult Asthma: 105,477 Chronic Bronchitis: 46,544 Emphysema: 23,133 Cardiovascular Disease: 391,515 Diabetes: 118,443 Poverty: 193,601 (AP Photo/Brian Bohannon)
Total Population: 2,214,954 Under 18: 543,893 65 and Over: 270,380 Pediatric Asthma: 51,168 Adult Asthma: 166,495 Chronic Bronchitis: 72,691 Emphysema: 35,624 Cardiovascular Disease: 607,603 Diabetes: 168,199 Poverty: 272,692 (AP Photo/Al Behrman)
Total Population: 1,212,848 Under 18: 291,846 65 and Over: 160,168 Pediatric Asthma: 25,030 Adult Asthma: 70,273 Chronic Bronchitis: 40,311 Emphysema: 20,201 Cardiovascular Disease: 340,136 Diabetes: 107,132 Poverty: 177,638 (AP Photo/Dennis Lathem, Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce)
Total Population: 2,445,117 Under 18: 495,068 65 and Over: 422,943 Pediatric Asthma: 51,002 Adult Asthma: 174,497 Chronic Bronchitis: 89,288 Emphysema: 48,733 Cardiovascular Disease: 783,055 Diabetes: 183,922 Poverty: 290,876 (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Total Population: 1,063,899 Under 18: 319,551 65 and Over: 104,947 Pediatric Asthma: 21,198 Adult Asthma: 58,379 Chronic Bronchitis: 30,977 Emphysema: 14,213 Cardiovascular Disease: 251,405 Diabetes: 65,433 Poverty: 221,348 (AP Photo/David Hunter)
Total Population: 148,764 Under 18: 41,081 65 and Over: 11,466 Pediatric Asthma: 2,725 Adult Asthma: 8,468 Chronic Bronchitis: 4,221 Emphysema: 1,721 Cardiovascular Disease: 32,615 Diabetes: 8,286 Poverty: 24,546 (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Total Population: 429,668 Under 18: 141,279 65 and Over: 40,393 Pediatric Asthma: 9,372 Adult Asthma: 22,622 Chronic Bronchitis: 11,998 Emphysema: 5,494 Cardiovascular Disease: 97,299 Diabetes: 25,326 Poverty: 97,542 (Flickr/Lauren Michell Rabaino)
Total Population: 4,364,094 Under 18: 1,187,246 65 and Over: 496,355 Pediatric Asthma: 96,895 Adult Asthma: 347,250 Chronic Bronchitis: 133,817 Emphysema: 63,556 Cardiovascular Disease: 1,101,803 Diabetes: 255,571 Poverty: 643,772 (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Total Population: 17,820,893 Under 18: 4,682,410 65 and Over: 1,902,902 Pediatric Asthma: 310,610 Adult Asthma: 1,030,481 Chronic Bronchitis: 552,457 Emphysema: 257,170 Cardiovascular Disease: 4,512,759 Diabetes: 1,179,719 Poverty: 2,579,016 (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
Total Population: 807,407 Under 18: 250,561 65 and Over: 72,666 Pediatric Asthma: 16,621 Adult Asthma: 43,747 Chronic Bronchitis: 23,012 Emphysema: 10,309 Cardiovascular Disease: 184,959 Diabetes: 48,102 Poverty: 170,614 (Flickr/anarchosyn)
Notes on the SOTA 2011 statistics:
1. Cities are ranked using the highest weighted average for any county within that Combined or Metropolitan Statistical Area.
2. Total Population represents the at-risk populations for all counties within the respective Combined or Metropolitan Statistical Area.
3. Those 18 and under and 65 and over are vulnerable to PM2.5 and are, therefore, included. They should not be used as population denominators for disease estimates.
4. Pediatric asthma estimates are for those under 18 years of age and represent the estimated number of people who had asthma in 2009 based on state rates (BRFSS) applied to population estimates (U.S. Census).
5. Adult asthma estimates are for those 18 years and older and represent the estimated number of people who had asthma during 2009 based on state rates (BRFSS) applied to population estimates (U.S. Census).
6. Chronic bronchitis estimates are for adults 18 and over who had been diagnosed in 2009, based on national rates (NHIS) applied to population estimates (U.S. Census).
7. Emphysema estimates are for adults 18 and over who have been diagnosed within their lifetime, based on national rates (NHIS) applied to population estimates (U.S. Census).
8. Adding across rows does not produce valid estimates, e.g., summing pediatric and adult asthma and/or emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
9. CV disease estimates are based on National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) estimates of cardiovascular disease applied to population estimates (U.S. Census).
10. Diabetes estimates are for adults 18 and over who have been diagnosed within their lifetime, based on state rates (BRFSS) applied to population estimates (U.S. Census).