air pollution better, but still a health threat
Six in 10 Americans — about 175 million people — are living in places where air pollution often reaches dangerous levels, despite progress in reducing particle pollution, the American Lung Association said in a report released Wednesday. The Los Angeles area had the nation's worst ozone pollution. Florida saw air quality improvements in parts of the state; in the Tampa Bay area, Hillsborough County improved its particle (soot) pollution grade from a D to a C, although both it and Pasco got failing marks for readings on high ozone days. Air quality is of greatest concern for people with lung or cardiovascular disease, seniors and children. "Florida's grades in the State of the Air 2010 report, while still at unhealthy levels in some areas, show some improvement from previous years and demonstrate that efforts to clean our air do work," said Brenda Olsen, a registered nurse and COO for the American Lung Association in Florida. The U.S. cities with the cleanest air were Fargo, N.D.; Wahpeton, N.D.; and Lincoln, Neb. For details, see the full report at www.stateoftheair.org.
Missing shots may put children at risk
Too many American children do not receive recommended childhood vaccines for illnesses such as polio, measles, mumps, diphtheria and pertussis that were once thought to have been eradicated but are making a comeback in some areas. Almost one-quarter of children ages 19 months to 35 months did not receive the recommended vaccinations, according to data from 2008. On Tuesday, the American Academy of Pediatrics — perhaps frustrated with the antivaccine tide — unveiled a campaign called Protect Tomorrow that "brings to life the memories of the terrible diseases of the past and reminds parents that, unless they are vaccinated, infants and children are at risk for contracting infectious diseases that can lead to hospitalization, disability and even death," the organization said.
New mom at 45 or older? Contact us
If you're a woman age 45 or older who is pregnant or has recently given birth, we'd like to hear from you for an upcoming article. Please contact health reporter Richard Martin at (727) 893-8330 or email@example.com.