On April 28, the American Lung Association released the bittersweet findings from its State of the Air 2010 report. Many cities in the eastern and midwestern United States—including Atlanta, Cincinnati, Cleveland, New York City, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Washington DC/Baltimore—have lowered their levels of deadly particle and ozone pollution thanks to cleaner diesel fuels and engines, as well as reduced emissions from coal-fired power plants. Unfortunately, more than 175 million people (that’s more than 58 percent of the population) still live in areas where pollution levels are often too dangerous to breathe. Some cities, primarily in California, have even experienced an increase in air pollution since the last report.
The American Lung Association creates its list of Most Polluted Cities by rating them on three criteria: ozone, year-round particle pollution, and short-term particle pollution. This year, Los Angeles, Bakersfield, and Fresno—all in California—were among the top 10 most polluted cities for each category. In fact, California cities made up more than half of the top 10 lists for each category.
While California residents seem to have a bigger fight to clean up their air quality than the rest of the nation, we all need to work harder to reduce air pollution. Charles D. Connor, American Lung Association President and CEO, states, “Amercians can take steps today and every day that will improve air quality immediately and ultimately impact climate change as well.” Connor continued, “Drive less. Don’t burn wood or trash. Use less electricity, and make sure your local school system requires clean school buses.”
In addition to these suggestions, try using green cleaning alternatives such as a Ladybug steam cleaner, which uses ordinary tap water to create a powerful dry steam vapor that not only cleans and deodorizes a variety of surfaces in your home, it also disinfects them by destroy illness-causing germs, bacteria, and viruses.
For the warm summer months, Sylvane now carries evaporative air coolers—also known as swamp coolers. These coolers offer a great eco-friendly alternative to traditional air conditioning systems for keeping your home cool without the use of ozone-depleting refrigerants, plus they use up to 70 percent less energy than traditional ACs. Using just air movement and water to reduce the temperature in your space, swamp coolers are a great solution for people who live in warm, dry climates such as those found in California and other western areas of the U.S.
While we continue take steps to clean the air around us, using an air purifier is a great way to ensure that you are breathing healthy, fresh air at least when you are indoors. By placing an air purifier in heavily-used rooms like a den, home office, or kitchen, you can reduce and eliminate harmful airborne irritants such dust, pollen, mold, and pet dander to improve the quality of your indoor air and your overall health.
For more information about the state of your air and tips for improving it, visit Stateoftheair.org.