By Arielle Dreher
More than 92% of Americans live in a region with unsafe air pollution, which could lead to reduced life expectancy, according to the latest University of Chicago Air Quality Life Index.
Why it matters: Some Americans could add more than a year to their lives if they lived in a place with cleaner air.
- Air pollution can affect not only the lungs but also the heart, upper airways and many other organs.
What they’re saying: “Don’t light things on fire and breathe it into your lungs,” Erika Moseson, a pulmonologist on the American Thoracic Society Environmental Health Policy Committee, told Axios.
The details: The most polluted counties in the U.S. are in California.
- In Mariposa County, which makes up part of Yosemite National Park; residents could gain 1.7 years of life expectancy if air quality there met new WHO standards, researchers concluded.
The big picture: Improving air quality is tantamount to improving health outcomes, and the U.S. still has a long way to go.