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PNS Daily Newscast - March 27, 2020 


The U.S. now has more confirmed coronavirus cases than any other country. Despite the pandemic, Election 2020 continues and states are making changes.

2020Talks - March 27, 2020 


3.3 million people reported being jobless last week, according to new Labor Department numbers. And Puerto Rico was supposed to hold primaries this weekend, though they pushed it back to late April, because of COVID-19.

Report: In 2018, NC Cities Hit Nearly 100 High Air-Pollution Days

In 2018, 108 million Americans lived in neighborhoods that experienced more than 100 days of degraded air quality, according to a new report. (Adobe Stock)
In 2018, 108 million Americans lived in neighborhoods that experienced more than 100 days of degraded air quality, according to a new report. (Adobe Stock)
February 25, 2020

RALEIGH, N.C. -- City-dwellers in North Carolina spent several months breathing elevated levels of air pollution in 2018, according to a new report from the Environment America Research and Policy Center. Environmental Protection Agency data were analyzed from statewide air-quality monitors for two types of pollutants - ozone and fine particulate matter.

The findings showed 100 days of high air pollution in Winston-Salem, 90 days in Durham-Chapel Hill, 80 days in Greensboro-Highpoint, and 75 days in Raleigh. Jamie Lockwood, climate and clean energy associate at Environment North Carolina, said even moderate increases can pose serious health risks.

"Moderate levels of air pollution have still been linked to increased risks of heart attack, different forms of cancer, premature deaths, and in pregnant women, higher risk of stillbirths, of low birth weight and premature birth," Lockwood said.

She added even air quality that meets federal standards can be dangerous with prolonged exposure, noting current EPA standards are more relaxed than those recommended by the World Health Organization.

The cleanest air was found in Cullowhee, in the Western part of the state. Its air monitors reported just nine days of elevated air pollution in 2018.

Lockwood said emissions from cars, trucks and buses are the main culprit.

"So, in North Carolina, 70% of our air pollution that contributes to this problem is from transportation," she said.

She said the hotter and drier weather on the horizon from a changing climate could worsen air pollution across the state.

"Also, as climate change increases, we have a higher risk of more frequent and more intense forest fires, and that's going to dramatically decrease our air quality throughout the year as well," Lockwood said.

According to data from NASA, since the 1980s, the wildfire season has lengthened across a quarter of the world's forests. And, in states like California, wildfires are now a year-round risk.

Nadia Ramlagan, Public News Service - NC