Half of Americans breathe unhealthy air

By Casey Frye, CCNN Head Writer

industrial pollution
Much of the smog comes from factories that create industrial pollution.

Air pollution is reaching dangerous levels in the USA, as the American Lung Association (ALA) reported that almost half of the country’s citizens live in places with unhealthy air. Based on data collected from 2010 and 2012, 22 of the nation’s 25 largest cities are filled with a gray haze of toxic chemicals called smog.

Weather is partially to blame, as climate change causes warmer summers that increase the risk of high pollution levels. See, sunlight and heat create conditions that intensify smog, which makes it more difficult to clean up. That’s bad news, since pollution has been linked to breathing problems and heart disease. In fact, the World Health Organization recently reported that the smoggy particles are even contributing to lung cancer.

Fortunately, new laws and community efforts to cut down on the smoke spewed from factories and cars are having a positive effect. Mega polluted cities like Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Pittsburgh have registered their lowest levels ever. That being said, California is going to experience some heavy smog days this month, due to high heat levels and wildfires that might undo a lot of the progress.

Featured image courtesy of Diliff on Wikipedia. Image of industrial pollution courtesy of Johntarantino1 on Wikipedia.