Air pollution is sending 200,000 Americans to an early grave every year, according to new research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“In the past five to 10 years, the evidence linking air-pollution exposure to risk of early death has really solidified and gained scientific and political traction,” co-author Steven Barrett, an assistant professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT, said in a statement. “There’s a realization that air pollution is a major problem in any city, and there’s a desire to do something about it.”
Barrett and his colleagues looked at ground-level emissions from a variety of sources, including car and truck tailpipes, factory smokestacks, and commercial and residential heating systems. They gathered data on air emissions in 2005 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Emissions Inventory, and plugged it into an air-quality simulation. Then, they laid this simulated air quality for each kind of air pollution over population density maps of the U.S.