Run, don’t walk, to the Reason website and read this wonderful article by Joel Schwartz on air quality in the US from Regulation magazine, a superb quarterly published by the Cato Institute. In noting the disconnect between actual air quality improvement and the general perception of poor air quality, Joel observes that
This disconnect between perception and reality is, in part, the result of environmental activists’ exaggerations of air pollution
levels and risks, which make air pollution appear to be increasing when in fact it is has been declining. State and federal regulatory agencies sometimes also resort to such tactics, and the media generally report those claims uncritically. As a result, public fears over air pollution are out of all proportion to the actual risks posed by current air pollution levels, and there is widespread but unwarranted pessimism about the nation’s prospects for further air pollution improvements.
Read the whole thing, and pass it around to everyone you know. This is good stuff.