Below, you will find detailed information, resources, and opportunities to take climate-protective action.
Climate change degrades air quality. How does that damage my health?
“Current levels of ground-level ozone have been estimated to be responsible for tens of thousands of hospital and emergency room visits, millions of cases of acute respiratory symptoms and school absences, and thousands of premature deaths each year in the United States.”
-U.S. Global Change Research Program (see below)
Climate change also increases wildfires and dust storms, greatly increasing levels of particulate matter, with potentially severe implications for health.
Wildfires have become more severe in several parts of the U.S. as temperatures rise. They are a major source of particulate matter (fine, even microscopic particles of dust and soot), which is a serious airborne health threat. Particulate matter:
|Climate change-induced droughts and dust storms also contribute to particulate matter. They also increase the transmission of dust-borne pathogens, like those that cause Coccidioidomycosis, or “Valley Fever.”|
Ozone and particulate matter together contribute to the four leading causes of death in the U.S.: heart disease, cancer, diseases of the respiratory system, and stroke.
What can I do to fight climate change and protect air quality?
- Spread the knowledge by sharing our postcards!
- Join PSR’s Activist List
- Climate change is accelerated by burning fossil fuels. In order to slow climate change and protect air quality, we must replace fossil fuels with renewable energy and energy efficiency.
- Advocate for the Clean Power Plan, our nation’s broadest, most far-reaching proposed policy to speed the transition to solar energy, wind power, and other renewable forms of energy.
- While the Clean Power Plan is under judicial review, support state-based legislation for renewables and efficiency.
- Share this information with your governor via Twitter or Facebook.
- Check if your state is complying with the Clean Power Plan.
- You can make personal health decisions based on current ozone and particulate matter concentrations by consulting the EPA’s Enviroflash web site.
- U.S. Global Change Research Program (2016, April 4.) The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment
This government study documents “what we know about the impacts of climate change on public health, and the confidence with which we know it.” It examines a broad range of health impacts as they affect the health of the American people, not just in the future but right now.
- American Lung Association (ALA). State of the Air 2016
The ALA’s recent report details the air quality in cities and counties across the U.S. This report is a great resource for knowing the air quality where you live.
- PSR: Air Pollution Effects on the Cardiovascular System (Fact Sheet)
- PSR: Air Pollution Effects on the Respiratory System (Fact Sheet)