Air pollution

Air pollution is contamination of the indoor or outdoor environment by any chemical, physical or biological agent that modifies the natural characteristics of the atmosphere.

The Most Detailed Map of Cancer-Causing Industrial Air Pollution in the U.S.

ProPublica’s analysis of five years of modeled EPA data identified more than 1,000 toxic hot spots across the country and found that an estimated 250,000 people living in them may be exposed to levels of…

Raising Awareness of the Health Impacts of Coal Plant Pollution

In 2000, 2004 and again in 2010, the Clean Air Task Force issued studies based on a methodology and model created by Abt Associates, U.S EPA’s own health benefits consultant, based on peer-reviewed, published studies…

Planting healthy air: Trees, particulate matter pollution and extreme heat

This study from the Nature Conservancy reviews the positive cooling effects of urban trees planting on hot city climates and the quality of their air.

Climate change is making people sick: A U.S. medical report

From rising levels of air pollution to increased water contamination and a widening range for disease-carrying mosquitoes, climate change is making people sick, a coalition of 11 US medical groups said Wednesday.


Western wildfires are fueling extreme weather in other states

By Kristoffer Tigue   10/18/22  
Scientists are once again sounding the alarm over the intensifying wildfires plaguing the American West. In a series of new peer-reviewed studies, researchers warned that the behemoth blazes of recent years have contributed to a…

Wildfire Smoke May Carry Deadly Fungi Long Distances

By Maryn McKenna   10/10/22  
Glowing red skies and bitter ash-laden air are increasingly common across much of the US as the warming climate fuels vast wildfires. For years now, researchers have understood that wildfire smoke, and the noxious gases…

Wildfire Smoke Is Erasing Progress on Clean Air

By Mira Rojanasakul   09/22/22  
Smoke from wildfires has worsened over the past decade, potentially reversing decades of improvements in Western air quality made under the Clean Air Act, according to research published Thursday from Stanford University.

‘We Can’t Let the Kids Go Outdoors’: Our New Reality on the West Coast

By Emma Pattee   09/21/22  
We were at Lake Chelan in Washington, on our first big post-pandemic vacation, with our 3-year-old and our 6-week-old baby. Overnight, the wind had brought wildfire smoke from fires in Idaho and Montana. I woke…

U.S. Air Pollution Is “Completely Outrageous”

By Juanita Constible   09/18/22  
How do you think the United States stacks up against other countries for protecting its citizens from the health threats of air pollution? That’s the question Christiana Figueres, one of the world’s leading climate warriors,…

In ‘Cancer Alley,’ Judge Blocks Huge Petrochemical Plant

By Lisa Friedman   09/15/22  
Louisiana activists battling to block an enormous plastics plant in a corridor so dense with industrial refineries it is known as Cancer Alley won a legal victory this week when a judge canceled the company’s…

Solution for Pollutions

President Biden promised to address the climate crisis by cutting climate pollution in half by 2030 and to deliver strong public health protections for all communities, including those historically overburdened by pollution.

Wildfire smoke is choking Indigenous communities

By Diana Kruzman   08/24/22  
On July 29, 2021, Li Boyd woke up to the smell of smoke. It was her birthday — she was turning 38 — and she had rented a boat to take her parents and aunts…

Greens ask EPA to ban new natural gas heating

By Rachel Frazin   08/23/22  
Environmental advocates are asking the Biden administration for a federal ban on new natural gas-powered heating appliances in homes and commercial buildings. In a petition submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Tuesday, 26…

Democrats designed the climate law to be a game changer. Here’s how.

By Lisa Friedman   08/22/22  
In a first, the measure legally defines greenhouse gases as pollution. That’ll make new regulations much tougher to challenge in court.

The TVA is dumping a mountain of coal ash in Black south Memphis

By Darryl Fears   08/19/22  
MEMPHIS — It’s rare for a Black community to notch a win against a large industrial polluter, but that’s what happened on this city’s south side. Residents stood up to a proposal by two oil…

Does Wildfire Smoke Cause Lung Cancer?

By Molly Peterson   08/09/22  
When wildfire smoke turned the skies of the San Francisco Bay Area red in the summer of 2020, Dr. Kari Nadeau, a physician and scientist at Stanford University, thought about the people who were most…

Study finds 2,800 Massachusetts deaths in 2019 connected to air pollution

By Kate Selig   07/18/22  
In Massachusetts, no community — from the Berkshires to Boston — is spared the lethal consequences of air pollution, according to a new study from researchers at Boston College. The researchers estimated that about 2,800…

How wildfires impact our health, as well as the environment

By Jamie Hailstone   07/13/22  
It is a sad truth that many parts of the world - including various parts of the United States - are now facing an increased risk of wildfires.

What Is the Clean Air Act?

By Coral Davenport   06/30/22  
The Clean Air Act, which some legal experts call the most powerful environmental law in the world, was enacted in 1970, at the birth of the environmental movement.

How Climate Change and Air Pollution Affect Kids’ Health

By Tara Law   06/17/22  
A new scientific review article published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows just how dangerous climate-related threats are to children’s health. The researchers analyzed data about the specific effects of a rapidly warming…

Allergies in overdrive as extreme weather drives higher pollen count

By Tracey Lindeman   06/13/22  
First, he had the symptoms. Then he saw the yellow fog. A thin layer of gold-coloured dust coated the patio furniture, the patio, his children’s swing set – everything in the garden of Ubaka Ogbogu’s…

Think Car Exhaust Is Bad? Wait ‘Til You Hear About Tire Pollution

By Angely Mercado   06/10/22  
Tests conducted over two years by UK-based consultancy and research firm Emissions Analytics found that car tires produce up to 2,000 times more particle pollution than exhaust does. The tires release more than 1 trillion…

White House climate adviser says misinformation ‘absolutely’ a public health issue

By Zack Budryk   06/09/22  
Asked whether climate misinformation disseminated on social media represents a public health threat, McCarthy responded, “Absolutely,” adding “it’s not just an island, there’s also greenwashing,” referencing the practice of companies or institutions misrepresenting their work…

Opinion: Switching from natural gas to electricity will reduce Colorado’s smog

By Eric Reinhardt   06/09/22  
Seventy percent of Colorado’s homes burn gas for heating. Although burning fossil fuels like gas is the primary cause of the continued heating of the earth’s climate, this figure represents more than just a climate…

As the Great Salt Lake dries up, Utah faces an ‘environmental nuclear bomb’

By Christopher Flavelle   06/07/22  
Climate change and rapid population growth are shrinking the lake, creating a bowl of toxic dust that could poison the air around Salt Lake City.

Block-by-block data shows pollution’s stark toll on people of color

By Darryl Fears   05/25/22  
Finding the most polluted places in the San Francisco Bay area is simple, a new air quality analysis shows: Locate places where mostly Black, Latino, Asian and low-income residents live, and pay them a visit.

Air pollution linked to increase risk of death from stroke: study

By Sharon Udasin   05/25/22  
That threat also varies based on the size of the air pollution particles — with those patients who are exposed to the smallest particles and whose stroke was caused by a blood clot incurring the…

Public health expert promotes benefits of electric vehicles

By YCC Team   05/20/22  
“Once I purchased my gently used – which was new to me – electric vehicle, I wanted to tell everybody in my community about how much money this was saving me, as well as talking…

Pollution caused 1 in 6 deaths globally for five years, study says

By Kasha Patel   05/17/22  
In 2015, 1 in 6 deaths worldwide stemmed from poor air quality, unsafe water and toxic chemical pollution. That deadly toll — 9 million people each year — has continued unabated through 2019, killing more…

Cutting air pollution from fossil fuels would save 50,000 lives a year, study says

By Steven Mufson   05/16/22  
Eliminating air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels would prevent more than 50,000 premature deaths and provide more than $600 billion in health benefits in the United States every year, according to a new study…

Microplastics are in our bodies. How much do they harm us?

By Laura Parker   04/26/22  
A few years ago, as microplastics began turning up in the guts of fish and shellfish, the concern was focused on the safety of seafood. Shellfish were a particular worry, because in their case, unlike…

LA ranks No. 1 in ozone pollution, new report finds

By Jaysha Patel   04/22/22  
1 in ozone pollution, new report finds. The report conducted by the American Lung Association found that the greater Los Angeles area had the worst ozone pollution out of more than 200 areas

American Lung Association’s “State of the Air” reports on Maine’s air quality

By WABI News Desk   04/22/22  
This year’s “State of the Air” report, released by the American Lung Association, finds Maine still has some of the cleanest air in the country. However, some areas saw mixed progress for some of the…

Chicago gets failing grade for ozone air pollution from American Lung Association

By Stacey Baca   04/22/22  
A new report from the American Lung Association gives the Chicago area a failing grade when it comes to some types of air pollution. Officials from the organization said the city ranks in their top…

American Lung Association: NYC’s air quality is improving, but still gets a failing grade

By Rosemary Misdary   04/21/22  
More than 22.5 million people are breathing bad air across New York City, Newark and its surrounding areas – and just over half are people of color. These conclusions come from the 23rd annual State…

137 million in US live with unhealthy levels of air pollution: American Lung Association

By Sharon Udasin   04/21/22  
More than 40 percent of the U.S. population — or 137 million people — are living in areas with unhealthy levels of particle pollution or ozone, according to the American Lung Association’s newest “State of…

More than 137 million Americans live in areas with poor air quality, report finds

By Dustin Jones   04/21/22  
Despite decades of environmental efforts, over 40% of Americans — more than 137 million people — live in cities and states with poor air quality, a new report says. And, in addition to cars and…

Microplastic particles are found deep in human lungs

By Katherine Martinko   04/12/22  
Microplastic particles have been discovered in the lungs of live human patients. A team of researchers from Hull York Medical School and the University of Hull in the United Kingdom has published a study in…

A ‘New Era of Air Pollution’ in the Tropics Could Have a Huge Toll

By Maggie Astor   04/08/22  
Urban air pollution in the tropics is rapidly increasing and will lead to hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths if stronger regulations are not put in place, according to a new study.

‘Superblooms of fungus’: Climate change is making valley fever worse

By Hayley Smith   04/04/22  
It was June 2020, and Shirley, a winemaker in Paso Robles, Calif., knew something was terribly wrong. He was going about his daily business when he doubled over with severe abdominal pain and a 103-degree…

Increasing the use of electric cars could improve health outcomes

Replacing gas-powered vehicles with electric vehicles in cities could significantly reduce air pollution–related death and illness, according to John Spengler of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Switching to electric vehicles could save lives, study finds

By Jamie Hailstone   03/30/22  
Moving to zero-emission vehicles and energy could help prevent up to 110,000 deaths in the United States, according to a new report.

US transition to electric vehicles would save over 100,000 lives by 2050 – study

By Nina Lakhani   03/30/22  
A speedy nationwide transition to electric vehicles powered by renewable energy would save more than 100,000 American lives and $1.2tn in public health costs over the next three decades, according to a new report.

Air Pollution in American Indian Versus Non–American Indian Communities, 2000–2018

By Maggie Li, Markus Hilpert and Others   03/23/22  
Objectives. To compare fine particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations in American Indian (AI)-populated with those in non–AI-populated counties over time (2000–2018) in the contiguous United States. Methods. We used a multicriteria approach to classify counties as…

Older Wildfire Smoke Plumes Can Affect Climate

By Emily Dooley   03/23/22  
Aerosols carried in wildfire smoke plumes that are hundreds of hours old can still affect climate, according to a study out of the University of California, Davis.

Science needs data to solve problems. Climate change is making that harder

By Joan Meiners   03/23/22  
Sometimes science becomes too hot to handle. That's what researchers at the University of Arizona found recently when they tried to test a new air pollution monitoring system around Tucson.

These were the best and worst places for air quality in 2021, new report shows

By Rachel Ramirez   03/22/22  
Air pollution spiked to unhealthy levels around the world in 2021, according to a new report. The report by IQAir, a company that tracks global air quality, found that average annual air pollution in every…

EPA Proposes “Good Neighbor” Plan to Cut Smog Across Much of the United States

Following clear Clean Air Act requirements and meeting a court deadline, EPA is proposing a federal plan that would cut pollution from power plants and industrial sources that significantly contribute to unhealthy levels of ground-level…

EPA acts to curb air, water pollution in poor communities

By Matthew Daly   01/27/22  
The Environmental Protection Agency announced a series of enforcement actions Wednesday to address air pollution, unsafe drinking water and other problems afflicting minority communities in three Gulf Coast states, following a “Journey to Justice” tour…

Ten Million a Year David Wallace-Wells on polluted air

Not​ all deaths are created equal. In February 2020, the world began to panic about the novel coronavirus, which killed 2714 people that month. This made the news. In the same month, around 800,000 people…

Reducing emissions would yield dramatic health benefits by 2030

By Roberto Molar Candanosa   11/30/21  
Air quality improvements resulting from a worldwide reduction in greenhouse gas emissions would benefit human health and prevent economic losses, according to new research by scientists from NASA, Duke University, and Columbia University.

Climate Change is World’s Most Pressing Health Problem: WHO

By Robert Preidt and Robin Foster   10/12/21  
Climate change is the "single biggest health threat facing humanity," and governments must "act with urgency" to tackle the crisis, a World Health Organization (WHO) special report warns.

Wildfire smoke poses serious health hazard. But your indoor air can be kept clean

By Bernard J. Wolfson   10/09/21  
The fierce wildfires that broke out across much of the western United States this summer, spreading smoke across hundreds of miles, continue to pose a serious health hazard to millions. More are expected this fall.…

We need to talk about your gas stove, your health and climate change

By Jeff Brady   10/07/21  
Americans love their gas stoves. It's a romance fueled by a decades-old "cooking with gas" campaign from utilities that includes vintage advertisements, a cringeworthy 1980s rap video and, more recently, social media personalities. The details…