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Your Health: Air quality a significant factor in personal health

Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 5:33 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Air pollution isn’t just an ugly sight, it’s responsible for more than six million premature deaths each year. Children, the elderly, minorities, and low-income communities are most vulnerable to environmental health effects.

Isha Clarke and Aniya Butler are members of a group called Youth Vs. Apocalypse.

“That is how the fossil fuel industry works,” Clarke said. “They exploit people so that they can make a profit.”

Butler said, “Youth are the ones who have been really living with the pollution in the air, the droughts, the wildfires.”

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A recent study found children who are exposed to air pollution are more likely to contract community-acquired pneumonia and be hospitalized for longer. Another study, done in 2020, linked wildfire smoke with more COVID-19 cases and deaths. Other research has shown air pollution may increase the risk of lung cancer, asthma, and emphysema.

Air pollution has also been linked to cardiovascular disease, neurological disorders and other cancers.

Under the clean air act, the EPA works with state, local, and tribal governments to reduce air pollution. Some simple ways you can help include carpooling or biking to work, conserving energy when possible, using environmentally safe paints, and purchasing appliances or equipment with an energy star label. These are small steps that can add up.

Research suggests that long-term exposure to some pollutants raises the risk of emphysema more than smoking a pack of cigarettes a day.

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