YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – According to a study released last week, millions of Americans could have breathing problems due to increasingly high levels of smog and ragweed.
The study by the Natural Resources Defense Council points to climate change for the reason nearly 127 million Americans are living with unhealthy levels of smog and ragweed pollen.
The report shows that increasing temperatures and sunlight across the country can mean more smog, which can lead to an increase in the growth of ragweed pollen plants. The combination could cause major health problems for some.
Ohio and Pennsylvania are ranked among the 15 worst states for the percentage of people living with high ragweed and unhealthy smog days. Ohio is at number 6 with both Mahoning and Trumbull counties identified as areas with high smog and ragweed. Columbiana is ranked high with just ragweed. Pennsylvania is ranked number 4 with Mercer and Lawrence counties both identified as counties with high smog and ragweed.
The combination of smog and ragweed can make it hard to breathe for people with respiratory allergies or asthma.
Ways to protect yourself from exposure to the high levels of smog and pollen:
- Exercise outside in the early morning when ozone levels tend to be lower
- Avoid roads where there is a lot of traffic
- Monitor pollen counts. On days when the pollen is high, stay indoors with the windows closed.
- On days when pollen is high, consider spending more time inside with the windows and doors closed.
- If you are outside, be sure to take a shower and put on clean clothes to wash off pollen.
The National Resource Defense Council is a non-profit organization based out of New York City. NRDC was founded in 1970 by a group of law students and attorneys and is at the forefront of the environmental movement, according to the organization’s website.