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Harmful levels of air pollution felt in Reno almost half the year

Residents of Nevada are facing a major public health crisis when it comes to air pollution, as a new report found that in 2016, 450,000 people in Reno breathed in 103 days of degraded air quality.

Exposure to air pollution increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, premature death, and asthma attack, and millions of people live with air quality that is lower than what is deemed safe.

This recent report on Nevada was conducted by the Environment Nevada Research and Policy Center and comes at a time when potential policy changes in the United States could increase greenhouse emissions and pollution levels.

The report was titled “Trouble in the Air: Millions of Americans Breathe Polluted Air.”

“All Nevada residents should be able to breathe clean air. Even one day with polluted air is too many,” said Elizabeth Leape, Campaign Coordinator with Environment Nevada Research & Policy Center. “To make dirty air days a thing of the past, we need to strengthen existing air quality protections and reduce future air pollution threats from global warming.”

Researchers reviewed data from Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) records of air pollution levels in the United States, focusing on smog and particulate pollution from coal, diesel, gasoline and natural gas.

“There’s no safe level of exposure to smog and particulate pollution,” said Elizabeth Ridlington, Policy Analyst with Frontier Group, a co-author of the report. “Even low levels of smog and particulate pollution are bad for health and can increase deaths.”

Even though the health risks associated with high levels of pollution are well documented, major regulations to reduce pollution have yet to be implemented on a large scale and some policy leaders and governments are seemingly doing as much as they can to increase pollution and speed up climate change.

Meanwhile, President Trump is looking to weaken federal clean car standards program which would increase emissions and reduce fuel efficiency, and EPA head Scott Pruitt plans to review the federal ozone standard.

The report urges that Trump’s administration should do just the opposite and instead strengthen the federal clean car standards program.

Stronger vehicle emissions standards would go a long way in reducing pollution and fighting climate change in the United States.

“To protect our health, we must keep cutting smog, particulate pollution, and global warming emissions,” said Leape. “We must accelerate our progress, not hit the brakes on effective programs like the federal clean car standards.”

By Kay Vandette, Staff Writer

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