According to a new study, California has the worst air in the country, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.
The article says that the 20 million people who live in the dirtiest regions, breathing soot and smog, cause billions of dollars a year in economic losses due to premature death, chronic illness, hospitalizations and missed school and work days.
Jane Hall, professor of economics at California State University Fullerton and team leader of the study, is quoted: "Most people cannot choose the air that they breathe, and there is a clear scientific consensus that people's lives are shortened by air pollution."
The most polluted regions were the Los Angeles Basin and San Joaquin Valley, and the cost of air pollution here is estimated at $28 billion a year, according to the report. But costs are passed on to the rest of the state, for example, if insurance companies increase premiums statewide to compensate for people who are sick more often in the polluted areas.
The report says if the regions met federal air quality standards 3,860 premature deaths among those age 30 and older, 13 premature deaths in infants and 1,950 cases of adult onset chronic bronchitis would be avoided annually. In addition it says cleaner air could prevent 2,760 hospital admissions, 141,370 asthma attacks, 2,800 emergency room visits and 466,880 lost days of work.
Enter your city or zip code to get your local temperature and air quality and find local green food and recycling resources near you.