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Announcements: Air Quality Awareness Week — April 30–May 4, 2012
CDC is collaborating with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to urge persons to "Be Air Aware" during Air Quality Awareness Week, April 30–May 4, 2012. May also is Asthma Awareness Month.
Asthma sufferers are particularly affected by air pollution. One in 12 U.S. residents, or approximately 25.7 million persons, currently has asthma (1). Air pollution caused by industrial emissions and automobile exhaust can trigger an asthma attack. Planning activities for times when air pollution levels will be low can help asthma sufferers avoid attacks. Broadcast air quality forecasts and EPA's EnviroFlash (http://www.enviroflash.info) both provide guidance in avoiding high levels of air pollutants.
Persons with asthma are not the only ones susceptible to the effects of air pollution. According to EPA, the average adult breathes >3,000 gallons (>11,000 liters) of air every day. Children breathe even more air per kilogram of body mass and are more susceptible to air pollution. Millions of U.S. residents live in areas where urban smog, very small particles, and toxic pollutants pose serious health concerns. Persons exposed to high enough levels of certain air pollutants might experience burning in their eyes, an irritated throat, or breathing difficulties. Long-term exposure to air pollution can cause cancer and long-term damage to the immune, neurologic, reproductive, and respiratory systems. In extreme cases, it even can cause death (2).
Information on Air Quality Awareness Week activities is available at http://epa.gov/airnow/airaware/index.html. Information on Asthma Awareness Month is available at http://www.epa.gov/asthma/awareness.html. Additional information about asthma is available from CDC at http://www.cdc.gov/asthma.
- Schiller JS, Lucas JW, Ward BW, Peregoy JA. Summary health statistics for U.S. adults: National Health Interview Survey, 2010. Vital Health Stat 2012;10(252).
- US Environmental Protection Agency. Air and radiation: basic information. Washington, DC: US Environmental Protection Agency; 2011. Available at http://www.epa.gov/air/basic.html. Accessed April 18, 2012.
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