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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- An environmental group has ranked Salt Lake City as the 37th-worst metropolitan area in the impact of summer air pollution on children, particularly those who suffer from asthma.
A study released Monday by the New York-based Environmental Defense found that on 8 percent of Salt Lake City's summer days from 2001 to 2003, conditions worsened for the area's children with asthma.
"Salt Lake City's pretty low on the list, comparatively speaking. But when you say 8 percent, you're still talking about a lot of kids," said study author John Balbus, director of Environmental Defense's health program.
"Despite all of the talk about cleaner air, we're not there yet. There's still a fight that needs to be waged to keep our kids from being exposed to unhealthy levels of pollution," he said.
Salt Lake City just concluded a summer in which it recorded no bad-air days, a trend that Balbus says played out throughout the country.
"It was an anomaly because it was cool and it rained much more frequently, but this isn't a trend. It's not a solution to the problem based upon what we've seen over the last 20 years," he said. "If anything, it's gotten warmer and it's gotten drier. So, long term, we need to do something about the sources of air pollution. We can't depend on the weather."
To eliminate those pollution sources, the study advocates going beyond EPA standards for new diesel engines which begin in 2007 to include retrofitting existing diesel motors; reducing pollution levels from power plants; advocating for more and cleaner transportation options and finding alternatives to rush-hour commuting schedules.
(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)