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ALA Releases 22nd Annual 'State of the Air' Report

American Lung Association

The American Lung Association recently released its 22nd annual ‘State of the Air' report. According to the study, millions of Americans are living with and breathing polluted air. Kevin Stewart is Director of Environmental Health with the organization.

"Despite some nationwide progress on cleaning up air pollution, still more than 40% of Americans live with unhealthy ozone or particle pollution. We've also found that people of color are significantly more likely to breathe pollution than white people."

Stewart says Georgia, and Athens, have made some progress when it comes to air quality.

"Clarke County measurements were for Ozone smog, a powerful respiratory irritant; the county does get a B grade. For the particle pollution levels, having had a B grade last year does have an A this year."

The consequences of air pollution affect a wider swath of the population than many think.

"We call sensitive groups, but it's not a tiny minority as you might think. Sensitive groups include not only people with chronic lung disease, like asthma, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema. It also includes people with cardiovascular disease, children, infants, teenagers, folks who are senior citizens, and individuals who live in poverty."

Those effects include trouble catching your breath, pain in lungs when breathing deeply, asthmas attacks and emergency room visits, heart attacks, strokes, and more severe health outcomes with COVID-19.

Visit Lung.org for more information.

Alexia Ridley joined WUGA as Television and Radio News Anchor and Reporter in 2013. When WUGA TV concluded operations, she became the primary Reporter for WUGA Radio. Alexia came to Athens from Macon where she served as the News Director and show host for WGXA TV. She's a career journalist and Savannah native hailing from the University of Michigan. However, Alexia considers herself an honorary UGA DAWG!
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