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Clark County looking to improve the air for lung health

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Posted at 1:47 PM, May 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-07 17:36:43-04

Clark County’s Department of Environment and Sustainability and The American Lung Association are working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through research, education and advocacy.

Both agencies share a goal to improve air quality and reduce the negative impacts poor air quality has on health, including:

· Cardiovascular and respiratory illness

· Loss of lung capacity and lung function

· Onset of illnesses, such as asthma, bronchitis, emphysema and even cancer

Those improvements include:

· 84 percent decrease in carbon monoxide since 1982

· 50 percent decrease in particulate matter (dust) since 2001

· 12 percent decrease in ozone since 2007

No. 1 Air Pollution Challenge: Ozone

Despite the improvements, the Environmental Protection Agency classifies Clark County in marginal nonattainment—the agency’s lowest nonattainment classification—for the pollutant.

Ozone is a colorless gas that exists naturally in the Earth's upper atmosphere. Ozone at ground level is a harmful air pollutant, because of its effects on people and the environment and it is the main ingredient in “smog."

MORE CORONAVIRUS NEWS

Local ozone levels in recent weeks highlight some of the challenges. Despite a decline in vehicle use and reduced business operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ozone levels in the Las Vegas Valley remain at a ‘moderate’ level due to general “background” ozone, warming temperatures and stagnant wind conditions.

Health Impacts of Air Pollution

According to the American Lung Association, 36,000 children and 137,000 adults with asthma in Clark County face greater risks on days with poor air quality.

The impact of poor air quality is felt especially by people with breathing sensitivities or lung ailments.

While COVID-19 has curtailed some outreach efforts planned by Environment and Sustainability, experts are optimistic the relationships with the American Lung Association in Nevada will lead to positive outcomes.