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Philly One of the Smoggiest Cities In The Country, New Report Says

By Steve Tawa and Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS)--A recent report ranks Philadelphia as one of the smoggiest cities in the nation.

Health reporter Stephanie Stahl has the numbers from a study that has local environmental experts worried about the air we breathe.

The findings announced at a news conference by environmental advocacy groups came more than a week after President Trump signed an executive order taking the first steps towards erasing rules limiting carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Gretchen Dahlkemper is executive director of 'Moms Clean Air Force' and is the mother of 3 small children in South Philadelphia.

She said her daughter was just 10 months old when she had her first asthma attack.

"The reality is that too many kids here in Philadelphia and across the country are dealing with unhealthy air like this report provides us," said Dahlkemper.

The report by Penn Environmental Research and Policy Center ranks Philadelphia as second among cities in the Northeast portion of the nation with 97 days of elevated smog pollution in 2015.

Philadelphia was fifth in the nation recording 212 days of elevated soot pollution for that same year.

Dr. Walter Tsou of Philadelphia Physicians for Social Responsibility says those numbers need to be reduced dramatically.

"We are very concerned about this, we believe this is actually going to exacerbate and make health a more serious problem in our Commonwealth and our cities," said Dr. Tsou.

Studies show people in areas of high pollution are at an increased risk for lung disease, heart disease and stroke.

"As President Trump rolls back 31 percent of the EPA's budget that means that cities like Philadelphia will not have the resources and the funding to clean up the air," said Dahlkemper said of proposed budget cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The groups are calling on local and state leaders to combat pollution and its impact on citizens' health.

"When we have to now hear 126 Philadelphians every single year die from bad air it's a woeful reminder that we have work to do," said Philadelphia Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown.

According to Penn Environmental Research and Policy Center, the Washington, DC metro area had the most number of days of elevated smog pollution in the Northeast.

Pittsburgh came in at number three, just behind Philadelphia.

The report also said that Philly's air is worse than Los Angeles in terms of soot pollution.

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