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Impacts of Air Pollution

Human Health: Exposure to outdoor air pollution is responsible for an estimated 4 million premature deaths annually with about another 3-4 million resulting from exposure to indoor air pollution; that is, air pollution is responsible for about 1 in 9 deaths worldwide (WHO, 2018;  Cohen et al., 2017). The majority of deaths are associated with fine particulate matter (PM). Exposure to ozone (O3) is associated with about another 250 thousand deaths annually worldwide (Cohen et al., 2017).


Agriculture: The economic impact of crop yield loss due to pollution is significant all over the world. Global crop yield losses for wheat, corn, and soybeans are estimated to range from $11-18 billion annually, with the greatest economic loss estimated to occur in the United States ($3.1 billion). Most losses occur from one pollutant, O3, despite the fact that scientists have been working with farmers for decades to find O3-tolerant species to cultivate. These losses are projected to increase for many regions.