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PSR Joins NRDC to Release Report on Increased Ozone Threats From Global Warming

More Bad Air Days for Southern, Eastern U.S. Cities

September 13, 2007

WASHINGTON, DC  People living in ten mid-sized metropolitan areas are expected to experience significantly more ‘red alert’ air pollution days in coming years because of increasing lung-damaging ozone (smog) caused by higher temperatures from global warming.

“We know that global warming will lead to higher temperatures, especially in urban areas and as this study shows, we can expect more and more suffering related to unhealthy air the longer we wait to address global warming.  We need to act now to control the pollutants that lead to ozone formation as well as greenhouse gas emissions that are causing global warming,” said Dr. Kristen Welker-Hood, director of the environment and health programs at Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR).

The analysis  was prepared by researchers at Yale University, Johns Hopkins and Columbia Universities, State University of New York at Albany, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and released today by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

The study uses data from the 2007 journal Climatic Change, which looks at climate change, ambient ozone, and public health in U.S. cities.  PSR joined with NRDC and some of the nation's top medical experts to release the report in Washington and other affected cities across the country.

Researchers project that, unless action is taken to curb global warming, by mid-century people living in a total of 50 cities in the eastern United States would see:

  • A doubling of the number of unhealthy ‘red alert’ days
  • A 68 percent (5.5 day) increase in the average number of days exceeding the current 8-hour ozone standard established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • A 15 percent drop in future summers in the number of summer days with “good” air quality based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) criteria

A copy of the report can be found on the NRDC website by clicking here.  For more information contact Dr. Kristen Welker-Hood at 202-667-4260 x 244 or kwelker-hood@psr.org.

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