ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — According to the Environmental Defense Fund, air pollution is now the biggest environmental risk for early death. So just how does this hazard impact your health?
It isn’t just an ugly sight. It’s responsible for more than six million premature deaths each year! Children, the elderly, minorities, and low-income communities are most vulnerable to environmental health effects.
“That is how the fossil fuel industry works. They exploit people so that they can make a profit,” stated Isha Clarke with Youth Vs. Apocalypse.
“Youth are the ones who have been really living with the pollution in the air, the droughts, the wildfires,” added Aniya Butler with Youth Vs. Apocalypse.
A recent study found children who are exposed to air pollution are more likely to contract community-acquired pneumonia and be hospitalized for longer. A study done in 2020 linked wildfire smoke with more COVID-19 cases and deaths. Other research has shown environmental health effects may increase the risk of lung cancer, asthma, and emphysema. It’s also been linked to cardiovascular disease, neurological disorders, and other cancers. Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA works with state, local, and tribal governments to reduce bad environmental health effects. Some simple ways you can help include carpooling or biking to work, conserving energy when possible, using environmentally safe paints, and purchasing appliances or equipment with an energy star label. Small steps that can add up.
“The goal is to change the world. It’s to change the society that we live in,” said Isha.
Research suggests that long-term exposure to some pollutants raises the risk of emphysema more than smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. Studies show bad environmental health effects can also impact mental health, productivity, and even stock market performance.
Contributors to this news report include: Julie Marks, Producer; and Roque Correa, Editor.
AIR POLLUTION: HEALTH RISKS
YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT
BACKGROUND: The contamination of indoor or outdoor environment by any chemical, physical, or biological agent that modifies the natural characteristics of the atmosphere is called air pollution. Common sources of air pollution are household combustion devices, motor vehicles, industrial facilities, and forest fires. Particulate matter, carbon monoxide, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide are all pollutants that are the cause of public health concern. Air pollution causes respiratory and other diseases and is an important source of morbidity and mortality. It kills an estimated seven million people worldwide every year. The World Health Organization (WHO) data shows that almost all of the global population (99%) breathe air that exceeds the guideline limits containing high levels of pollutants, with low- and middle-income countries suffering from the highest exposures.
AIR POLLUTION AND HEALTH: Air pollution can affect lung development and is associated with emphysema, asthma, and other respiratory diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In 2020, a major challenge arose with the integration of the COVID-19 pandemic and wildfires across the western U.S. connecting environmental health effects and respiratory-tract infections. Fine particulate matter can impair blood vessel function and speed up calcification in arteries leading to cardiovascular diseases. A large study of more than 57,000 women found living near major roadways may increase a woman’s risk for breast cancer. A long-term study, 2000-2016, found an association between lung cancer incidence and increased reliance on coal for energy generation. Air pollution affects everyone’s health, but certain groups may be harmed more.
Almost 9 out of 10 people who live in urban areas worldwide are affected by air pollution.
NEW RESEARCH ON AIR POLLUTION: Breakthrough research has not only identified the previously unmeasured footprint of aircraft-originating air pollution but has also started to unravel public health concerns and explore improvement options. Civil & Environmental Engineering Professor at University of Washington, Tim Larson, has been involved in all these efforts, in collaboration with researchers at University of Southern California, Tufts University, and University of California, Los Angeles. Researchers discovered a way to distinguish air pollution originating from aircrafts from other sources, such as freeway traffic which enabled them to map the corresponding footprint of aircraft air pollution. “A lot of air quality studies were done near airports, but what was not fully appreciated were the impacts further downwind and the ultrafine particle plume that encompassed a larger area,” Larson says. The research may have considerable public health impacts, as ultrafine particles are not monitored or regulated by the federal government, although they may negatively affect health more than larger environmental health effect particles.
* For More Information, Contact:
Isha Clarke, Public Relations
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