94. That's the number of days this year the air was unsafe to breathe in Southern California because of smog. And it's up from last year, when the number was 88. Over the decades we’ve made progress towards cleaning up the nation's dirtiest, smoggiest air basin, but fossil fuels and air pollution still place a heavy burden on families across the region.
The toll of this pollution is immense. Every year, local kids miss more than 1.1 million days of school due to dirty air and Southern Californians suffer from more than 120,000 asthma attacks. Even worse, over 5,000 people die prematurely every year due to air pollution. And this problem does not affect us equally in Southern California. African American and Latino children are two to six times more likely to die from asthma than whites, and the people most vulnerable to smog are children and the elderly.
Our pollution problem is not only affecting the health of people, it is also hurting our economy. In Southern California, pollution costs each of us $1,250 every year. While burning fossil fuels puts a hole in our pocket books, it hurts the economy more broadly too. Workers miss 400,000 days of work every year due to air pollution, and in total air pollution costs the region's economy $22 billion annually.