(HealthDay News) — Nearly 148 million Americans live in regions where air pollution levels are a threat to their health, according to the American Lung Association’s 2014 State of the Air report. The number of people found to be breathing unhealthy air is nearly 16 million more than in the 2013 report.

The report examined levels of particle pollution from vehicle exhaust and coal-fired plants, along with ozone (smog). Both types of pollution increase the risk of heart disease, asthma, and lung cancer, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

The lung association said that year-round levels of particle pollution in the 25 worst cities violate health standards, USA Today reported.

“The Clean Air Act has helped us come a long way,” Janice Nolen, assistant vice president at the American Lung Association, told USA Today. “But we have 120 days of unhealthy air in Los Angeles and other places, so we have to keep pushing because we know cleaning up the air has an impact on human health.”

Health Highlights: April 30, 2014
More Information