Health Impact

Our air is simply not healthy, and that is especially true if you live in an urban area, like the Greater Birmingham metropolitan area.  Birmingham is one of the very worst places in the United States in terms of air quality.  In fact, the 2012 State of the Air gives very poor grades for the whole Jefferson County area, particularly in regard to ozone levels.  Ozone and airborne particles are bar none the two biggest airborne components adversely affecting our health.  It’s a simple reality – the first step to improving the health of our community is to improve our air Pilsen and Pollution by Senor Codo used under a Creative Commons licensequality!

Speaking of health, air quality directly leads to various forms of  respiratory disease. Generally speaking, the four main forms of lung disease are:

  • Lung Cancer
  • Asthma
  • COPD
  • Influenza

In addition, the thousands of citizens who are immune compromised, such as those individuals with cardiovascular disease, are terribly affected by poor air quality.  Poor air quality also disproportionally targets the elderly and children.

By that same token, air quality issues are also varied across communities within the same region.  There are large disparities amongst different demographic groups in how they approach things like smoking, and even how these various communities approach health care.  The short of it is, however, that we’re all living in a larger community, and we all need to work together to reach a goal of clean air.

There is a wealth of quality information about air quality, and how poor air quality affects each and every member of our community.  Take a few moments to review at the State of the Air, newly updated for 2012 information.  This is released by the American Lung Association, which is one of the best resources in regard to air quality issues.It’s a great report that brings home just how important the air we breathe really is.

Dr. Carden Johnston


A word from Dr. Carden Johnston of Birmingham, past president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, on respiratory illness, part of GASP’s series of Clean Air films.