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Air Pollution Poses Global Danger

HuffPost: The Long-Term Dangers of Declining Air Quality Index
Tobias Roberts, writer, farmer, and development worker

“…Air pollution accounts for over 3 million deaths each year, though hundreds of cities and countries around the world aren’t even monitored. … When people hear of air pollution, we often have images of coal factories, smoke stacks, and vehicles that don’t abide by any sort of emission standards. While all of these causes certainly do contribute to air pollution problems, many cities in low to middle income countries also suffer the effects of the burning of agricultural refuse in the areas immediately surrounding the city. According to the EPA, particulate matter, or PM, is a mixture of extremely small particles and liquid droplets that are emitted into the air. … Despite certain advancements in regulations intended to reduce the level of particulate matter pollution, the air quality index in most urban areas will only continue to deteriorate. … As with global warming and other anthropocentrically caused problems to our world, the poor and underprivileged will only continue to suffer the worst effects” (11/6).

HuffPost: Don’t Breathe Easy
Edward Flattau, environmental newspaper columnist

“A recent scientific study discloses that air pollution kills approximately nine million people annually, making it the leading environmental cause of premature death on the planet. But don’t derive any comfort from the fact that the aforementioned pollution victims reside predominantly in developing countries. We do not get off scot free just because of better air quality due to our superior pollution abatement regulatory regime. Our downfall is more subtle because of lag time between air pollution exposure and paying the piper. Many of our cities are not in compliance with the Clean Air Act’s (CAA) pollution standards. … [T]he result is a reduction in average life expectancy. Researchers estimate that current air quality reduces life spans on average by eight months in Los Angeles and six months in Chicago. … [I]t is in our best interests to help the developing world bring their pollution under control. In the industrial backdrop of the 21st century, the fate of all nations is environmentally intertwined” (11/6).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.