Interesting Air Pollution Facts

Sometimes it’s valuable to read interesting air pollution facts in a list, rather than as prose. This list is just a start on the long list of facts to share, mostly scary facts.

Most of the facts available on air pollution are pretty dry, scientific data. But here are some interesting air pollution facts that you can use to raise awareness of air pollution or just start lively debates at cocktail parties.

  • According to a study, living in a major city places people at a higher risk than living in the radioactive zone in Chernobyl.
  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 2 million premature deaths are caused each year due to air pollution in cities across the world.
  • A recent study has revealed that exposure to fine particle matter in polluted air increases the risk of hospitalization due to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.
  • According to a German study, people who breathe in the fumes of heavy traffic regularly have higher chances of getting hardening of the arteries, which is associated with the risk of heart attack.
  • A Scottish study has shown that jogging with traffic around results in reduced blood flow to the heart. This is particularly dangerous for people with stable heart disease, because it can trigger off cardiac arrhythmia or even a heart attack.
  • According to a study conducted on eight-year-olds in Mexico City, being exposed for a long time to high levels of polluted air reduces lung function and growth in children.
  • According to a 20-year study conducted on the residents of Los Angeles, it has been shown that the adverse effects of air pollution have been grossly underestimated. The researchers opine that chronic health problems due to particulate matter in the air may be double or even triple times greater than the estimates available currently.
  • Vehicle exhaust contributes about 60 percent of all carbon monoxide pollution to the atmosphere.
  • According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), the average adult breathes over 3,000 gallons of air every day. Children breathe even more air per pound of body weight and are more susceptible to air pollution.
  • A few air pollutants, called criteria air pollutants, are common throughout the United States. These pollutants can injure health, harm the environment and cause property damage. The current criteria pollutants are: Carbon Monoxide, Lead, Nitrogen Dioxide, Ozone, Particulate matter with aerodynamic size less than or equal to 10 micrometers, and Sulfur Dioxide.
  • Scientific evidence increasingly shows that air pollution plays a major role as a trigger for asthma episodes. Specifically, fine particles, sulfur dioxide and ozone have been linked to increases in patients’ use of asthma medication, emergency department visits and hospital admissions.
  • Estimates of the annual human health costs of outdoor air pollution range from $14-$55 billion annually.
  • Each year, pollution claims 70,000 lives in the United States.
  • In 2010, the United States will save a projected $1.1 trillion in health benefits (i.e., avoided illness and death) associated with reductions in air pollution due to implementation of the federal Clean Air Act.
  • Radon, another indoor air contaminant, is the second leading cause of lung cancer deaths in adults, after cigarette smoking. Exposure to radon causes 15,000-22,000 lung cancer deaths in the United States each year ­- 12 percent of the total lung cancer deaths. The majority of radon-related deaths are among smokers; perhaps 1,200-2,900 deaths occur among nonsmokers

There, enjoy a few interesting air pollution facts. Add more, if you’d like.

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