Vital Signs newsletter: Breathe easy in Bangor, but Maine air polluted elsewhere

Bangor ranks as one of the cleanest cities for air quality in the country, but southern Maine residents are breathing in unhealthy levels of pollution, according to a new report released Wednesday.

Air quality has improved statewide, but unevenly from region to region, the American Lung Association’s 15th annual “State of the Air” report found. Nearly half of Maine residents live in counties with fair to poor air quality.

“I remember in the ’50s and ’60s you could get a breath of clean, fresh air,” said Dr. Paul Shapero, a local allergist and immunologist. “We’re trying to hold onto that in Bangor.”

Report: Bangor’s air among nation’s cleanest, but unhealthy pollution lingers in Maine

Other top health stories this week:

As LePage vetoes family planning bill, cost of teen births in Maine pegged at $18 million

Teen births cost Maine taxpayers at least $18 million in 2010, according to new data released Tuesday just hours after Gov. Paul LePage vetoed a bill aimed at reducing unintended pregnancies among low-income women. The costs would have been much higher had Maine not recorded a substantial decline in its teen birth rate.

Overdose antidote ready for wider circulation as LePage lets bill expanding access become law

Gov. Paul LePage has allowed into law a bill expanding access to a drug that can stop a heroin overdose in its tracks, buying a drug user more time to receive potentially life-saving medical care. LePage, who had originally opposed the measure, allowed the bill to become law without his signature.

From our bloggers

Diane Atwood, Catching Health

Anaphylaxis. Learn the facts about this life-threatening allergic reaction.

When Ricker Hamilton got stung by a wasp a few years ago, he immediately began showing signs of a severe allergic reaction. It was third time in 20 years that he’d been stung and thankfully, he carried an EpiPen just in case. It probably saved his life.

Sarah Devlin, On the Plus Side

Hot Pockets and judgment day

I did something terrible today. I seemingly judged another person’s food choices in the checkout aisle at Shaw’s.

Jackie Farwell

About Jackie Farwell

I'm the health editor for the Bangor Daily News, a Bangor native, a UMaine grad, and a weekend crossword warrior. I never get sick of writing about Maine people, geeking out over health care data, and finding new ways to help you stay well. I live in Gorham with my husband Nick and our hound dog Riley.