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A team of researchers including University of New Mexico economics professor Andrew Goodkind is addressing the deadly problem of particulate matter air pollution in the U.S. and how to best mitigate it.
Their article, titled "Fine-scale damage estimates of particulate matter air pollution reveal opportunities for location-specific mitigation of emissions," is being published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). It was co-authored by Christopher Tessum, University of Washington, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Jay Coggins, University of Minnesota, Department of Applied Economics; Jason Hill, University of Minnesota, Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering; and Julian Marshall, University of Washington, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
Authors - Particulate - Matter - PM2 - Air
In 2011 alone, the authors say fine particulate matter (PM2.5) air pollution was responsible for an estimated 107,000 premature deaths. The researchers approximate those deaths cost society around $886 billion, and more than half of them were at least partially the result of pollution caused by energy consumption (i.e. transportation, electricity generation).
PM2.5 are atmospheric particles that generally have a diameter of only 2.5 micrometers or smaller and are so tiny, they can only be seen with an electron microscope. For scale, that's about 3 percent of the diameter of a single human hair. The particles often carry microscopic solid or liquid drops leftover from when they were formed during complex chemical reactions and can sometimes contain dangerous elements. Their small, light nature allows them to stay in the air longer than heavier particles, increasing the possibility of being inhaled and settling into the lungs or bloodstream.
Impact - Particulate - Matter - Air - Pollution
"The impact of particulate matter air pollution is enormous even in countries with relatively good air quality like the U.S.," Goodkind said. "There is still substantial room for improvement to the public health from reducing emissions, even though we have dramatically...
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