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Giving Compass' Take:
• Matthew Yglesias at Vox discusses how harmful air pollution actually is, and how the Trump administration is only making things worse.
• How are you mindful of the air pollution in your community? What can you do to help?
Air pollution — mostly fine particulates, but also ozone and nitrous oxides — has risen in recent years, in part due to ongoing rollbacks of regulations relating to air pollution, leading to what a team of researchers at Carnegie Mellon estimate is nearly 10,000 extra deaths per year.
Policymakers in the Trump administration seem determined to continue down this course. On November 11, Lisa Friedman of the New York Times reported on a draft memo circulating among Environmental Protection Agency officials that, if enacted, would sharply limit the kinds of scientific studies the agency can use to consider the impact of air pollution. Yet there’s good reason to believe the EPA and other global public health agencies should be moving in the opposite direction and considering a wider range of studies about the harms of air pollution.
That’s because in addition to its impacts to lung and cardiovascular functioning, it seems increasingly clear that pollution has a significant effect on cognitive function over both the short and long term. A spate of studies released in recent years indicate that people work less efficiently and make more mistakes on higher-pollution days, and that long-term exposure to air pollution “ages” the brain and increases the odds of dementia.
Read the full article about how harmful air pollution is by Matthew Yglesias at Vox.