THE BAD NEWS (then the good news!)
You take about 29,000 breaths every day! That means you breathe 50-60 pounds of air per day. However, not all the air you breathe does “a body good.” Sometimes, our air gets dirty and it can make you cough, your eyes water – or even make you sick enough to go to the hospital. Below are some facts about air pollution in Utah:
Air pollution is a more serious public health problem than previously thought.
Salt Lake, Provo and Logan consistently rank in the top ten U.S. cities for worst acute spikes in air pollution.
If you are born and raised along the Wasatch Front, you can statistically expect 2 years shaved off your lifespan due to air pollution.
A red alert day is virtually the equivalent of smoking about a half a pack of cigarettes. Last winter Utah had 22 red alert days. That means each of you virtually smoked 11 packs of cigarettes this school year.
4-8% of all deaths are attributable to air pollution (about 1000 premature deaths along the Wasatch Front annually).
Air pollution limits the growth of lung capacity in children, thus permanently reducing lung function as an adult.
Air pollution increases the incidence of the most common forms of childhood cancers, especially leukemia.
Air pollution increases the incidence of asthma, SIDS, premature birth and death.
Asthma is the leading cause of missed days at school.
Air pollution increases genetic damage in newborns, probably leading to adult heart disease, diabetes and cancers.
Air pollution is not evenly distributed throughout the community. Hot spots are found next to traffic corridors and industrial sites. The interior of school buses may have four times as much diesel exhaust as the air outside.
In Utah, about 60% of our dirty air comes from tailpipes, while the other 40% comes from industrial sites such as coal-powered energy plants and other point-source emissions.
THE GOOD NEWS: Kids are Part of the Solution too!
- Take the Energy Pledge.
- Become an e2 Student.
- Turn off lights.
- Ride your bike, skateboard, or walk.
- Carpool to school and extracurricular activities.
- Turn off your computer.
- Check out Smog City to find out more about ozone.
- Remind your parents not to idle cars for more than 30 seconds.
- Make NO IDLING signs for your school pick-up zone.
- Plant a tree with your mother for Mother’s Day.
- Write a letter. Writing letters to the editor of newspapers is one of the most effective ways to bring attention to an issue — and kids need to be heard, too!
- Become a spokesperson for Utah Moms for Clean Air.