ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Hypnosis Cuts Hot Flashes for Breast Cancer Survivors
Pharoah's Wine Jar Yields Medicinal Secrets
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Fractures in Older Adults Up Death Risk
For All Their Plusses, Pets Pose a Risk for Falls, Too
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
CANCER
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
Method for Treating Cervical Lesions May Pose Pregnancy Risks
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
CAREGIVING
TV Watching Doesn't Fast-Track Baby's Skills
Baby's Sleep Position May Not Affect Severity of Head Flattening
ER Less Likely to Diagnose Stroke in Younger Folks
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
COSMETIC
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Study Links Osteoporosis Drugs to Jaw Trouble
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
Health Tip: At Risk for Gingivitis
DIABETES
Out-of-Control Blood Sugar May Affect Memory
Diabetes Linked to Cognitive Problems
Chamomile Tea May Ward Off Diabetes Damage
DIET, NUTRITION
Brown Rice Tied to Better Heart Health in Study
Coffee Drinkers Might Live Longer
Is Your Refrigerator Getting Enough Attention For Your Raw Food Success?
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Freckles, Moles May Indicate Risk for Eye Cancer
Clear Skies Have Become Less So Over Time, Data Show
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
EYE CARE, VISION
Protein Might One Day Prevent Blindness
Nearly 18 Million Will Have Macular Degeneration by 2050
Nutrient-Rich Diet Lowers Risk of Age-Related Eye Disease
FITNESS
Occupational Therapy Plus Exercise Benefits Osteoarthritis
Good Warm-Ups Could Halve Sports Injuries
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
GENERAL HEALTH
Pesticides and How to Affordably Eat Organic or Reduce Pesticide Consumption
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
The Brain Comes Alive With the Sounds of Music
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Relaxation Tapes or Mozart Lower Blood Pressure
Ingredient in Dark Chocolate Could Guard Against Stroke
Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Working Intensely Early on May Help Autistic Kids
Teens Lose More Weight Using Healthy Strategies
Health Tip: Back Pain in Children
MEN'S HEALTH
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
MENTAL HEALTH
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
Love Hormone May Ease Discussion of Painful Topics
Musicians' Brains Tuned to Emotions in Sound
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
SENIORS
Older People at Greater Risk of Swine Flu Death
For a Healthier Retirement, Work a Little
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Postmenopausal Women With Breast Cancer Face Joint Issues
Active Young Women Need Calcium, Vitamin D
Health Tip: Be More Comfortable During Childbirth
Add your Article

Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest

While a decade of efforts to reduce air pollution in the United States has improved air quality in many cities in the Northeast and Midwest, 175 million people are still exposed to dangerous levels of smog and soot, a new report reveals.

The survey, from the American Lung Association, credits a considerable overall drop in air pollution nationwide to a shift towards cleaner fuels and engines, along with curbs on coal-fired power plant emissions. Along with recent industrial clean-up efforts, the result has been a drop-off in both particle pollution (fine specks of soot, dust and aerosols) and ozone pollution, the report suggests.

However, the organization's analysis also indicates that improvements in air quality have not been spread evenly across the nation, with many urban areas in the Western part of the country seeing poor air quality. That means that 58 percent of Americans still breathe dirty air.

"Air doesn't just get cleaned up by itself," said Janice Nolen, assistant vice president of national policy and advocacy for the lung association. "We have a history of knowing that you have to put some control equipment on things that produce pollution in order to get results."

"So, certainly we're pleased to see that the air control measures we worked for a long time to put in place are working," she stressed. "There are improvements. But we want people to know that while there are good trends we've still got a lot more clean-up to do. This isn't a done deal."

Nolen highlighted the findings during a recent press conference co-hosted by Dr. Norman H. Edelman, chief medical officer for the lung association.

Essentially an air quality "report card," the latest annual analysis is based on air pollution data collected between 2006 and 2008 from thousands of official air-quality monitors distributed across the country.

After crunching the numbers, the analysts were able to grade cities and regions on the basis of their air quality.

Some locales demonstrated considerable air quality improvements. Atlanta, Cincinnati, Cleveland, New York City, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Washington, D.C. and Baltimore all experienced a drop in both smog and soot levels, the researchers found.

In terms of exposure to short-term "spikes" of particle pollution, Alexandria, Louisiana topped the list as the nation's "cleanest city." In terms of year-round particle pollution exposure, Cheyenne, Wyo., came out on top.

Others were not so fortunate. Overall, one-quarter of Americans (more than 70 million) currently live in places where such short-term spikes render the air they breathe "unhealthful," the report found, while one in 10 Americans (nearly 24 million) are exposed to year-round particle pollution.

The metropolitan Phoenix/Mesa/Scottsdale perimeter of Arizona topped the list of "most polluted" urban jurisdiction in terms of year-round particle pollutant exposure. In terms of short-term particle pollutant spikes, Bakersfield, Calif., ranked as the city with the most days per year of unhealthy air quality.

With respect to the ozone pollution that stems from vehicle and industrial emissions, the upside appeared to be a drop in the number of "unhealthful" days experienced in 14 of the 25 most polluted urban areas.

Bismarck, N.D., got the top "A" grade for least ozone exposure, with several cities in Texas, Idaho, Wisconsin, Hawaii, Nebraska, Florida and South Dakota also faring well.

On the downside, the report indicated that some cities actually demonstrated a worsening of air quality over the prior 10 years; most of those were located in California.

Los Angeles topped the list for worst ozone pollution. Nevertheless, the current report struck a hopeful chord by noting that the city, nonetheless, recorded its second-lowest ozone levels since 2000.

Edelman pointed out that certain groups are more vulnerable to air pollution than others. The elderly, the very young, and those suffering from heart and/or lung disease are the most vulnerable to smog, he noted.

In the lung association's first look at how economic status affects air pollution exposure, the report found that poor Americans form a specific high-risk group that faces a relatively greater hardship -- such as an increased risk for premature death -- than the general population as a result of chronic air pollution exposure. When it comes to air pollution, said Edelman, "it's bad to be poor."

Meanwhile, Frederica P. Perera, a professor in the department of environmental health sciences with the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University in New York City, expressed little surprise with the report.

The mention in the report of the risk to children from such air pollutants is particularly relevant, added Perera, who also serves as director of the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health. "With our work, we have found that the very young are particularly vulnerable to the effects of air pollutants."

SOURCES: Janice Nolen, assistant vice president, national policy and advocacy, American Lung Association, Washington, D.C.; Norman H. Edelman, M.D., chief medical officer, American Lung Association; Frederica P. Perera, Ph.D., professor, department of environmental health sciences, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, and director, Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health, New York City; American Lung Association's State of the Air 2010 Report Published on: April 28, 2010