Air Quality is “Double Whammy” – Affects 4 in 10 Americans
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) released a report on July 11, 2017, that 4 out of 10 Americans live in counties with unhealthy levels of smog and ragweed pollen. The report can be found at: (http://www.nrdc.org/experts/kim-knowlton).
Kim Knowlton, a senior scientist at the NRDC, who oversaw the project,
Smog obscures view of downtown Los Angeles.
said that, “Today, 127 million Americans live where ragweed and ozone can threaten their next breath. This health threat will just get worse if we don’t curb climate change soon.”
The report indicated that burning of fossil fuels such as oil, gas, and coal, worsen ozone pollution and extends the ragweed season. Ragweed was selected instead of other pollens, such as tree and grass, because more people are allergic to it than all the others combined. Ragweed comes out toward late summer when temperatures, and thus smog levels, are highest. It means that air quality is a “double whammy.”
Kim Knowlton, Ph.D., is Senior Scientist and Deputy Director of Science Center of the Natural Resources Defense Council
Smog forms on warm, sunny days and is made worse from the chemicals that come of vehicle tailpipes and from power plant and industrial smokestacks. According to Dr. Perry Sheffield, a pediatrician at Mount Sinai in New York, “It worsens respiratory illnesses such as asthma and COPD.”
The report listed the 15 worst states where smog and pollen are bad – meaning that air quality is “double whammy.” Those, listed in order with the worst, are: the District of Columbia, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Utah, Ohio, Arizona, Michigan, Massachusetts, Delaware, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Indiana, and Kansas.
What Can Be Done?
Ms. Juanita Constible of the NRDC commented that, “The federal government should focus on limiting smog, curbing power plant pollution, and increasing fuel efficiency.”
I encourage you to view my post on April 23, 2017, that describes a report from the American Lung Association on air pollution. I listed 5 things that each of us can do to help reduce – air quality is a “double whammy” – so that we can all Breathe Easy.
Dr. Perry E. Sheffield, Assistant Professor at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai