NEW YORK (WCBS 880) - An advocacy group is pushing for tighter federal ozone regulations to lessen the effects of air pollution.
Environment New York claims the New York City, Newark, and Bridgeport statistical area is among the top regions in the nation for the most hazardous air days so far this year.
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The group's Eric Whalen points to ozone -- a major component of smog, which forms when pollution from cars, power plant, and industry meets sunlight.
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"The Obama administration had considered updating the standard this year to protect public health. But, rather than acting decisively to protect our kids from dangerous air pollution, President Obama chose to kick the can down the road and abandon any strengthening of the standard until 2013," Whalen told WCBS 880 reporter Rich Lamb.
The organization says this could result in an increase of asthma attacks and respiratory illnesses.
"Children who grow up in smoggy areas may develop diminished lung capacity, putting them at greater risk for lung disease later in life. Children who are exposed to smog in the womb can experience lower birth weight and growth retardation. Even for healthy adults, repeated exposure to smog pollution damages lung tissue," said Whalen.
Whalen says Long Island saw 13 days last year in which smog pollution levels made it unhealthful for children and seniors to breathe.
The other top metropolitan areas for hazardous air days so far this year are Washington-Baltimore-Northern Virginia (tied at no. 3), Fresno-Madera (tied at no. 3), Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Gainesville (no. 2), Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside (no. 1).
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