Although the air quality in general in the United States has improved tremendously in recent decades, we still have a long way to go to make sure the air we breathe is always safe. The World Health Organization has classified air pollution as a carcinogen–a change from classifying specific elements in the pollution to air pollution in general.
Other countries have it much worse than we do, though:
Youngest lung cancer victim ever diagnosed in China–age 8. Air pollution is believed to be th culprit.
In Hyderabad, India, 20% of lung cancer deaths are caused by air pollution.
In Beijing, people are not only wearing facemasks to protect themselves from the terrible levels of air pollution, they are starting to use them as fashion statements.
Air pollution death rates are on the rise in half of the boroughs of London, England.
What European country has the highest level of air pollution? Bulgaria.
In Tehran, Iran, they are holding an art festival to raise public awareness of air pollution in the city for children 7-14 in painting and composition. It is reported that “Tehran citizens breathed clean air only two days since the beginning of this Iranian year on March 21.” Yikes.
And here in the states, the San Joaquin Valley had a No-Burn Day this Veteran’s Day weekend. No fires in fireplaces on chilly evenings doesn’t sound fun. On no-burn days, it is prohibited to burn wood, pellets or manufactured logs in fireplaces indoors or firepits outside.
We can all help our air quality be better every day. Don’t idle your car when you are waiting to pick up the kids from school. Pay attention to the air quality in your area. Ride your bike and walk when you can. Use less energy and help your local utility burn less fuel. Every little bit helps!