Air pollution from farms leads to 17,900 U.S. deaths per year, study finds

Read the full story from the Washington Post.

The smell of hog feces was overwhelming, Elsie Herring said. The breezes that wafted from the hog farm next to her mother’s Duplin County, N.C., home carried hazardous gases: methane, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide.

“The odor is so offensive that we start gagging, we start coughing,” she told a congressional committee in November 2019. Herring said she and other residents developed headaches, breathing problems and heart conditions from the fumes.

Now, a first-of-its-kind study shows that air pollution from Duplin County farms is linked to roughly 98 premature deaths per year, 89 of which are linked to emissions directly caused by hogs. Those losses are among more than 17,000 annual deaths attributable to pollution from farms across the U.S., according to research published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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