Air Pollution Bad in Beijing, Not Great in New York State

Poor Air Quality Affects Athletes, Plays Havoc on Vulnerable New Yorkers

ALBANY, NY (08/04/2008)(readMedia)-- As New York's finest athletes arrive in Beijing to take part in the 2008 Summer Olympics, the American Lung Association of New York reminds New Yorkers back home of the dangers of air pollution. While those competing in the Olympic Games in the People's Republic of China face stark problems, outdoor air pollution remains a serious issue in New York State.

"Dirty air can make even healthy people sick," said Michael Seilback, Vice President, Public Policy & Communications. "When the world's finest athletes are affected by air quality - imagine the consequences for individuals with serious chronic health conditions."

The American Lung Association's State of the Air 2008 report found that from Buffalo to Bayport and from Staten Island to Saratoga, millions of New Yorkers are being forced to breathe unhealthy air. For most of the state, there truly is no escape for New Yorkers whose health is impacted by air pollution. According to the report, 8,260,033 New Yorkers live in counties that have failing air quality -- equaling 48 percent of the State's residents.

"Higher pollution levels in New York State make people sick and even cut lives short," added Seilback.

In particular, people with asthma, COPD (emphysema and chronic bronchitis), heart disease and diabetes are all especially vulnerable to the effects of air pollution -- as are smokers. In addition, young children and those over 65 years of age are also at increased risk.

It is imperative that individuals take precautions to limit the effects of air pollution. You can minimize your exposure to air pollution by being aware of pollution and by following some simple guidelines: If you live in an area susceptible to air pollution, you should:

-- train early in the day or in the evening.

-- avoid midday or afternoon exercise, and avoid strenuous outdoor work, if possible, when ozone smog or other pollution levels are high.

-- avoid congested streets and rush hour traffic; pollution levels can be high up to 50 feet from the roadway.

-- make sure teachers, coaches and recreation officials know about air pollution and act accordingly.

-- most important, be aware of the quality of the air you breathe.

An interactive map showing air quality findings in New York, by county, is available at