One-Third of Americans Exposed to Dangerous Levels of Soot and Smog
People of color are far more likely to breathe heavily polluted air than white people, the American Lung Association’s 2023 State of the Air report shows.
Almost 120 million people in the U.S. (more than one-third of the population) live in areas with failing grades for ozone and particulate pollution. Air pollution is largely caused by the extraction and combustion of fossil fuels, especially from vehicles and power plants.
Centuries of systemic racism and decades of racist housing and environmental policies result in people of color making up 54% of the population of counties receiving failing grades for air quality — that means people of color are nearly four times more likely to live in a county with the highest air pollution levels than white people. Air pollution is also worse in the West due to pollution released and spread by wildfires.
For a Deeper Dive:
SOTA report: CNN, The Guardian, Inside Climate News, Washington Post, Axios, Wall Street Journal, The Hill; Los Angeles: LA Times; Fresno: Fresno Bee; California: KGET; Allegheny County, PA: Lancaster Farming; Lehigh Valley, PA: WFMZ; Pittsburgh, PA: WESA; Atlanta metro: Georgia Public Broadcasting; WV-OH-KY: WOWK, Jackson, MS: WJTV
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