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Clean Air Week -- May 6-12, 1991

Since 1973, the American Lung Association (ALA) has sponsored Clean Air Week to educate the public about the effects of air pollution on respiratory health. The theme for Clean Air Week 1991 (May 6-12), "Clean Air Is Up to You!", challenges U.S. residents to take personal responsibility for reducing the level of indoor and outdoor air pollution. This issue of MMWR includes reports on noncancer health risks from toxic air pollutants, health effects from exposure to indoor paint containing bis(tributyltin) oxide, and the clean air national health objectives for the year 2000.

Respiratory illnesses associated with airborne pollutants include chronic bronchitis, pulmonary emphysema, lung cancer, and bronchial asthma (1). Although estimates of the total annual health costs attributable to exposure to air pollution are difficult to determine, the ALA suggests these costs range from $40 to $50 billion each year (2).

The ALA has designated May 9 as "Don't Drive Day/Don't Drive Alone Day." On that day, motorists are encouraged to use mass transit, carpools, or bicycles. Other activities during Clean Air Week will vary across the country; among them will be the Clean Air Challenge (a pledge-based bicycling event May 4 and 5) and educational activities for elementary and high school students on the health effects of indoor and outdoor air pollution. Additional information about Clean Air Week and related activities is available from local offices of the ALA; to contact the national offices, telephone (212) 315-8848. Reported by: L Seegert, Media Relations, American Lung Association, New York. Air Pollution and Respiratory Health Activity, Div of Environmental Hazards and Health Effects, Center for Environmental Health and Injury Control, CDC.


  1. Public Health Service. Healthy people 2000: national health promotion and disease prevention objectives. Washington, DC: US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, 1990; DHHS publication no. (PHS)90-50212.

  2. Cannon JC. The health costs of air pollution. New York: American Lung Association, 1990.

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