Air quality in US dramatically worse than in prior years

The air quality in the United States is dramatically declining, leaving about 150 million people -- nearly half of America's population -- breathing unhealthy, heavily polluted air, according to the newly released "State of the Air" 2020 report by the American Lung Association.

"We're moving in the wrong direction, with nearly nine million more people breathing dirty air than in last year's report," said Paul Billings, the national senior vice president of public policy for the American Lung Association.

That's particularly bad news for people like Tim Seib, a 37-year-old New York City regional theater director who has suffered from asthma his entire life.

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"Knowing we've let our air get worse is maddening to me because air quality directly affects my day to day health," Seib said. "It's not a political stance, it's not an ideology thing."

"When asthma symptoms start, you don't know when your next full breath of air is going to come. It almost feels like you're drowning," Seib continued.

"I don't think until you've walked in the shoes of someone with respiratory issues (that) you really understand how scary that can be."


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