'India, China account for more than half of air pollution deaths'

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The American Lung Association's 2018 "State of the Air" report found some cities in SC earned poorer grades for the nation's most widespread air pollutants.

The lung association said San Diego is backsliding because rising temperatures from global warming are increasing the frequency and severity of ozone days. Diesel fuel is a leading cause of air pollution in some rich countries, including the United Kingdom, but in poorer countries the often decrepit state of many vehicles means petrol-driven engines can be just as bad in their outputs, especially of the fine particulate matter blamed for millions of deaths a year.

Chautauqua and Erie counties both received an "F" grade for high ozone days from 2014 to 2016. "So Cleveland, even though progress has been made, there's still work to be done, it still is unhealthy", said Fletcher.

The report says exposure to air pollution led to strokes, heart attacks, lung cancer and chronic lung disease, causing many of those premature deaths.

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More than 95 percent of global population are breathing unhealthy air and the poorest nations are the worst victims, according to the report, which further says long-term exposure to air pollution contributed to an estimated 6.1 million deaths around the globe in 2016.

Air pollution is a complex mixture of gases and particles whose sources and composition vary spatially and temporally.

According to the State of Global Air/2018 report, nearly 95% of people in the world live in areas with higher levels of fine particulate matter than deemed safe by the WHO's guidelines.

The trends reported in this year's report, which covers data collected by states, cities, counties, tribes and federal agencies in 2014-2016, reflect the ongoing challenges to reduce each pollutant in the changing political and outdoor climate. Fresno was the fourth-most ozone-polluted.

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For year-round particle pollution, Fairbanks, Alaska, was the most-polluted city.

"When you can't breathe, nothing else matters", said Stewart.

But while most Utahns are familiar with how these dynamics cause particulate pollution to accumulate in winter inversions, Siler said ozone doesn't seem to be on most residents' radar.

Officials said less reliance on coal-fired power plants and cleaner burning vehicles has drastically cut soot levels in the air. Several areas saw an increase in unhealthy days for ozone including in Wheeling, Charleston and Huntington.

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The report gave Essex, Berkshire, Bristol, Franklin, Hampden, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk and Worcester counties "A" grades on particle pollution, while the other five counties either had incomplete monitoring data or had no monitor collecting data.

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