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American Lung Association Says Philly One Of Most Air-Polluted In Country

By John Ostapkovich

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The American Lung Association says the Philadelphia region is still among the most air-polluted places in the country.

The Philly region still figures prominently on the American Lung Association's State of the Air listing of 220 metro areas: ranking 11th worst in terms of annual measured particulates (good for a failing grade), 16th in ozone (also an F) and 26th in 24-hour particulates which counts daily spikes (that's a D.)

American Lung Association VP Janet Nolan explains why they count particulates two ways.

"Particle pollution, whether you're breathing it on a day-on, day-out or a spike when it's slow the rest of the time but it spikes up, that can cause not only asthma attacks but heart attacks and stroke. They can cause premature death and we've learned recently, the World Health Association told us it can cause lung cancer."

Nolan says our area has many pollution sources. Some you might figure like autos and power plants, but she says far-away power plants send their smog this way too.

"We can improve. We have improved, and we, with the right tools, especially with a strong carbon pollution standard that we're urging the President to propose and adopt, we will have a better success at getting that air cleaned-up."

Nolan says it's a false choice to say we can't lower pollution while increasing the economy because that's exactly what has happened. Ozone days and particulate concerns are both down over the past decade or two.

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