Trouble in the Air

Millions of Americans Breathed Polluted Air in 2018

People across America regularly breathe polluted air that increases their risk of premature death, and can also trigger asthma attacks and other adverse health impacts.

Environment North Carolina Research and Policy Center

Air pollution and climate change are “two sides of the same coin,” according to the United Nations Environment Program. Climate change will make air pollution worse, while some air pollutants can exacerbate global climate change.

Fortunately, action to reduce air pollution can help slow global warming, while many of the solutions to prevent the worst impacts of climate change over the long run can also protect our health and make the air safer to breathe right away.

This report shows that air pollution remains a widespread problem for the nation and the state of North Carolina. Though the skies over most cities are less visibly smoggy than they were in the 1990s and 2000s, millions of Americans breathe levels of pollution that can put their health at risk. By cutting the emissions that cause air pollution and contribute to global warming, we can protect public health today, while minimizing the warming that threatens our future. The benefits of taking such action now are clear. And as the following analysis shows, North Carolina cannot afford the costs of waiting.

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