A rise in air pollution in the US between 2016 and 2018 led to the premature deaths of an estimated 9,700 Americans, a new study has revealed.
Experts attribute the increase of air pollution to more trucks and other pollution-emitting vehicles on the road and an increase in manufactures’ carbon emissions.
The increase started under the Trump administration and experts have suggested it is a result of the president’s support for polluting-industries and appointed industry-friendly regulators at government agencies.
Economic growth has been deemed the culprit behind thousands of premature deaths in the US, a new study has revealed. Air pollution increased from 2016 and 2018 as a result of more economic activity and killed some 9,700 Americans
The shocking discovery was made by a team at Carnegie Mellon, who analyzed air pollution from 2009 through 2018.
During this time frame, particulate matter air pollution dropped 24 percent, but rose 5.5 percent over the next two years.
‘That increase was associated with 9,700 premature deaths in 2018,’ Karen Clay and Nicholas Muller, economists with Carnegie Mellon, wrote in a paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
‘At conventional valuations, these deaths represent damages of $89 billion.’
The increase started under the Trump administration and experts have suggested it is due to the president’s support for polluting-industries and appointed industry-friendly regulators at government agencies
The researchers noted that this boom has brought more trucks and other polluting-emitting vehicles on the road to ship more goods and has increased manufacturers’ carbon emissions to create more goods.
‘The chemical composition of particulates point to increased use of natural gas and to vehicle miles traveled as likely contributors to the increase’ in pollution, they wrote. ‘We conclude that the effect is due to diesel vehicles as well as some industrial boilers.’
‘Because of these large increases and the large exposed population in California, we find that nearly 43 percent of the increase in deaths nationally from 2016 to 2018 occurred in California,’ they wrote.
To find this information, the team analyzed over 1.8 million daily readings from the Air Quality System the Environmental Protection Agency manages, Gizmodo reported.
To find this information, the team analyzed over 1.8 million daily readings from the Air Quality System the Environmental Protection Agency manages. Pictured is Los Angeles, California covered in a blanket of smog
WHAT IS THE AIR QUALITY INDEX?
The Air Quality Index (AQI) is a measure used by environmental agencies and other public bodies around the world to measure how clean the air is.
The lower the index is, the better the quality of the air.
The AQI provides a number which is easy to compare between different pollutants, locations, and time periods.
Exactly how this score is categorised varies from country to country, but each category in the AQI corresponds to a different level of health risk.
The daily results of the index are used to convey to the public an estimate of air pollution level.
The AQI provides a number which is easy to compare between different pollutants, locations, and time periods. Exactly how this score is categorised varies from country to country, but each category in theAQI corresponds to a different level of health risk
An increase in air quality index signifies increased air pollution and severe threats to human health.
The AQI centres on the health effects that may be experienced within a few days or hours after breathing polluted air.
AQI calculations focus on major air pollutants including: particulate matter, ground-level ozone, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and carbon monoxide.
Particulate matter and ozone pollutants pose the highest risks to human health and the environment.
For each of these air pollutant categories, different countries have their own established air quality indices in relation to other nationally set air quality standards for public health protection.
The data was then broken down into specific types of particulate matter, which includes ammonium nitrate, sulfate and elemental carbon.
Because these particles were developed through specific sources of combustion, the team was able to determine that they were behind the recent spike in air pollution.
Although most of the US experienced a rise in air pollution, it was California that had the highest increase – it rose 12.5 percent.
This was due to the numerous and massive wildfires that state has had over the past few years.
Previous studies have found that air pollution has also attributed to an exponential rise in dementia – cases of the disease increased at a rate of 20 percent more and most of them were in developed countries where air pollution is rife.
And over the summer, experts determined that air pollution can age our lungs up to two years and increase risks of lung disease.
Although most of the US experienced a rise in air pollution, it was California that had the highest increase – it rose 12.5 percent. This was due to the numerous and massive wildfires that state has had over the past few years
The pollution has also been found to attribute to heart attacks and degenerative eye disease.
The increase in air pollution started under the Trump administration and it may not be a surprise as the president has made known his support for industries that are known for polluting the US.
The US president has also appointed industry-friendly regulators in positions that would control emissions and pollution, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which enforces many air quality regulations and regulates polluting industries.
Trump also moved to withdraw the US from the Paris Climate Agreement in June of 2017 and just last month, his administration announced the repeal of an Obama-era regulation that had expanded pollution protections for waterways such as wetlands and shallow streams, but that farmers, miners and manufacturers decried as overreach.
His appointed regulators who sit on the EPA board also scrapped the Clean Power Act and eased up regulations on toxic air pollution.
‘Since 2017, the agency, through a variety of actions, has signaled it is going to take a more relaxed approach,’ Joe Goffman, former associate administrator for Climate and Senior Counsel at the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation who now helps run Harvard Law School’s Environmental Law Program, told Gizmodo.
‘This administration has sent enough signals to sources that they are operating under a more lenient regime that could corroborate the data that is the focus of this report.’