Grist | Emily Pontecorvo
After decades of steadily declining, air pollution is once again on the rise in the United States. Between 2016 and 2018, pollution of fine particulate matter — tiny particles that are emitted whenever we burn anything — rose by more than 5 percent.
That’s terrible news for Americans’ health. The researchers who identified the increase in pollution calculated that it was linked to 9,700 additional premature deaths in 2018. Worldwide, outdoor air pollution is responsible for an estimated 4.2 million deaths per year. It affects nearly every organ in the body, and can cause or contribute to stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and chronic respiratory diseases.