Wildfires are one of the reasons for increased levels of PM2.5. Photo: Flickr.com / Tony Salas CC BY-NC

Backlash for US air pollution levels

After a seven-year stretch of improvement, between 2016 and 2018 the amount of particulate matter air pollution rose, according to a new analysis of Environmental Protection Agency data by two economists at Carnegie Mellon. They found that particulate matter air pollution fell 24 per cent in the US from 2009 to 2016, but it increased 5.5 per cent in the following two years.

“That increase was associated with 9,700 premature deaths in 2018,” wrote Karen Clay and Nicholas Muller in a paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The researchers say three factors could explain the increase in air pollution: stronger economic growth in recent years, an increase in wildfires and weakened enforcement of clean air rules.

Source: CBS News, 22 October 2019.
Link to the paper: https://www.nber.org/papers/w26381


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