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(CNN)The US saw the highest number of "very unhealthy" and "hazardous" air quality days between 2018 and 2020 than it ever had before, according to a report released Thursday by the American Lung Association.

After a steady 23-year decline in US pollution levels through 2017, the American Lung Association's State of the Air 2022 report found a sharp uptick in pollution over the past five years.
Water is a human right: City of Jackson still in dire need of infrastructure help to fight water crisisNearly 9 million more people were exposed to deadly particle pollution spikes than in last year's report, and more than 137 million Americans live in counties with unhealthy air.
    People of color were disproportionately affected by pollution in the US. They were 61% more likely than White people to live in a county with a failing grade for at least one form of pollution and 3.6 times more likely to live in a county that fails for all three forms measured: year-round particle pollution, short-term particle pollution and ozone.
      "That's certainly a disturbing trend and one of the challenges that we have to address to promote health equity and environmental justice," said Paul Billings, a senior vice president with the American Lung Association. "We see the impacts of systemic racism on those who bear the greater burden of pollution."Read MoreThe report also found that 1.5 million pregnant people lived in counties with a failing grade for at least one pollutant. Exposure to air pollution during pregnancy can cause problems including higher infant mortality, lower birth weight, impaired lung development and early changes in immune development, studies show. Some experts predicted that with the Covid-19 pandemic and fewer people driving during lockdown, pollution levels would drop. There were indeed some marked improvements in air quality, Billings said, but the progress didn't hold up nationwide throughout 2020.
        People weren't driving to work as much, but online shopping went up significantly. All those deliveries may have had a negative effect on pollution levels, Billings said. Biden administration announces it will resume onshore oil and gas lease sales with higher royalty rateFine particulate matter pollution, also known as particle pollution or PM 2.5 pollution, can come from things like fossil fuel plants, cars and agriculture. It is one of the tiniest yet most dangerous pollutants. When inhaled, the pollution travels deep into the lung tissue, where it can enter the bloodstream. Exposure is linked to several health problems, including asthma, heart disease, chronic bronchitis and other respiratory illnesses. Particle pollution is also thought to make people more susceptible to Covid-19, even after short-term exposure, studies show. Long-term exposure is linked to more severe Covid-19 outcomes. For healthy people, exposure to this kind of pollution means more coughing, wheezing, asthma attacks and shortness of breath, Billings said. For people with asthma and other chronic disease, exposure means higher rates of premature death.The cities that were most polluted by year-round particle pollution were all in California, with Bakersfield topping the list, followed by the Fresno-Madera-Hanford area, Visalia, the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland area and Los Angeles. About 20.3 million people live in these areas.Banks say theyre getting tough on coal, but they keep lending trillions to pollutersThe worst five areas for short-term particle pollution were also largely concentrated in California. The worst were the Fresno-Madera-Hanford area and Bakersfield. Fairbanks, Alaska, came in third, followed by two other California areas: San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland and Redding-Red Bluff. More than 63.2 million people live in these areas.For ozone pollution, the five worst cities were Los Angeles-Long Beach, Bakersfield, Visalia and the Fresno-Madera-Hanford regions in California. Rounding out the worst five was Phoenix-Mesa, Arizona. More than 122.3 million people live in a county with a failing grade for ozone, but this is an improvement from last year's report.There have been advances in reducing pollution, but one phenomenon that's driving the overall increase -- in the West in particular -- is the endless wildfire season. Other studies have shown that this smoke can drift as far as New York. In July 2021, a year not captured by the latest State of the Air report, Western wildfire smoke contributed to New York City's worst air quality day in 15 years. With moderate to extreme drought conditions in California and above-normal temperatures predicted through spring, the state says it could see even more wildfires this year.Get CNN Healths weekly newsletter

        Sign up here to get The Results Are In with Dr. Sanjay Gupta every Tuesday from the CNN Health team.

          The climate crisis has extended the country's wildfire season so it now lasts all year. "We've seen some really bad air pollution events really driven by wildfire events in the West, and I think that's a real change," Billings said. "We're really seeing the impact of climate change on our air quality, leading to really significant adverse health outcomes for the American people."

          News Source: CNN

          Tags: last year’s report san jose san francisco oakland year’s report last year’s report to live in a county in counties pollution levels state of the air wildfire season the worst five in california term exposure pollution air pollution studies show people were in the west followed air quality exposure los angeles exposure more likely

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          Patriots Create $2 Million Cap Space to Finish 2022 Season

          Getty New England Patriots, Bill Belichick

          A day after the New England Patriots‘ Matthew Judon was called one of Bill Belichick‘s best-ever free-agent signings by FOX Sports’ Henry McKenna, the team’s sack leader had his deal restructured.

          On Thursday, the Patriots converted $3.32 million of Judon’s salary from his four-year, $54.5 million deal into a signing bonus, per Field Yates of ESPN.

          The Patriots restructured the contract of OLB Matthew Judon, creating $2,214,445 in 2022 salary cap space, per source.

          — Field Yates (@FieldYates) December 1, 2022

          This act spreads Judon’s bonus across the remaining years of the contract.

          The Patriots effectively lowered Judon’s 2022 cap number to $14.3 million. On the downside, Judon’s cap hits in 2023 and 2024 will increase. From a team standpoint, the Patriots freed up just over $2 million in cap space.

          The additional money allows the organization to function the rest of the season and perhaps sign some of Judon’s teammates to extensions. The Patriots just agreed to an extension with linebacker Jahlani Tavai that will function as a three-year, $5.5 million deal through 2024, per the Boston Globe’s Ben Volin.

          New contract for Patriots LB Jahlani Tavai is technically a three-year, $5.5m deal that runs through 2024.

          Includes a pay raise from $1.15m to $2m this year, plus $500k in play time incentives.

          2023: $1.625m cash ($1.15m fully gtd), $1.958m cap

          2024: $1.875m cash, 2.158m cap

          — Ben Volin (@BenVolin) December 1, 2022

          Judon has been a catalyst for the Patriots’ defense all season and the team’s most consistent performer on either side of the ball. Through 12 games, Judon has 13 sacks. Unfortunately for the Patriots, Judon and the rest of his defense couldn’t do enough on Thursday night against their hated rivals.

          About Thursday Night…Bills Handle the Patriots

          Unfortunately, it seems the Patriots are going to have to get used to being dominated and controlled by Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills. The new kings of the AFC East handled the Patriots on Thursday night to the tune of a 24-10 victory.

          New England’s offense was stymied most of the night as they converted just three of 12 third-down attempts and managed only 242 yards of total offense. Mac Jones wasn’t horrible statistically, but he also wasn’t a standout performer. The second-year quarterback played hard until the final whistle, but his 22 completions on 36 pass attempts for 195 yards and a TD just wasn’t enough to threaten Buffalo’s defense in the primetime affair.

          Allen didn’t have an astronomical performance statistically. He completed 22 of his 33 passes for 223 yards and 2 TDs. Neither quarterback threw an interception.

          Patriots Bright Spots

          New England took another loss against the Bills and fell to 6-6 on the season. They awould be out of the playoffs if the postseason started tomorrow. However, there were at least two bright spots.

          Linebacker Josh Uche finally seems to be coming into his own as a pass rusher. The third-year player had two sacks including this impressive strip sack of Allen captured by the Philly Inquirer’s Devin Jackson:

          The raw athletic ability from Josh Uche was always evident watching him at Michigan, but pulling this off is astonishing. Literally dips his shoulder parallel to the ground, keeps balance on the ghost rush and closes for the strip sack.

          Impressive!

          pic.twitter.com/17U8PMGDVK

          — Devin Jackson (@RealD_Jackson) December 2, 2022

          Uche now has seven sacks on the season. With his two sacks on Thursday night, Uche is now second on the team, a half-sack ahead of Deatrich Wise and six behind Judon.

          Another bright spot on an otherwise dim performance came from rookie Marcus Jones. The blazing fast nickel corner and return man got an opportunity to play on offense and boy did he make the most of it.

          Jones took a quick slot WR screen 48 yards to the house on a play that showed off the first-year player’s jets. Take a look:

          Marcus Jones does it all. Look at this speed. ???????? pic.twitter.com/3G6KJ5xlfm

          — Pats Buzz (@PatsBuzz) December 2, 2022

          It stands to reason the Patriots might use the speedy rookie on offense a little more in the future.

           

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