Nearly 8,000 U.S. public schools are plagued by toxic air

Read the full story at Grist.

Nearly 8,000 U.S. public schools lie within 500 feet of highways, truck routes, and other roads with significant traffic, according to a joint investigation by the Center for Public Integrity and Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting. That’s about one in every 11 public schools, serving roughly 4.4 million students and spread across every state in the nation. Thousands more private schools and Head Start centers are in the same fix.

Air Pollution Causes 4.2 Million Premature Deaths Around The World

Read the full story in Fast Company.

If smoking, a cholesterol-filled diet, and high blood pressure doesn’t kill you, then the polluted air might. In 2015, ambient pollution was the fifth leading cause of death worldwide, according to a major new report. More than 4.2 million people died prematurely because of particulates and ozone in the air, mostly from coal burning, power plants, and home heating.

Toxic Metals Found in E-Cigarette Liquids

Read the full story from John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

A study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found high levels of toxic metals in the liquid that creates the aerosol that e-cigarette users inhale when they vape.

Sulfur dioxide emissions from U.S. power plants have fallen faster than coal generation

Read the full story from the Energy Information Administration.

Sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions produced in the generation of electricity at power plants in the United States declined by 73% from 2006 to 2015, a much larger reduction than the 32% decrease in coal-fired electricity generation over that period. From 2014 to 2015, the most recent year with complete power plant emissions data, SO2 emissions fell 26%—the largest annual drop in percentage terms in the previous decade. Nearly all electricity-related SO2 emissions are associated with coal-fired generation.

Study finds air polluters more likely to locate near downwind state borders

Read the full story from Indiana University.

Research by an Indiana University professor and colleagues at two other universities reveals a pattern of companies strategically locating facilities where wind will carry pollution across state lines.

Locating factories and power plants near downwind borders can allow states to reap the benefits of jobs and tax revenue but share the negative effects — air pollution — with neighbors…

The study, “Gone With the Wind: Federalism and the Strategic Location of Air Polluters,” was published in the American Journal of Political Science. Other authors are James Monogan, assistant professor of political science at the University of Georgia, and Neal Woods, associate professor of political science at the University of South Carolina.

Urban Exposures: How Cell Phone Data Helps Us Better Understand Human Exposure To Air Pollution

Learn more about the project.

Global urbanization has led to one of the world’s most pressing environmental health concerns: the increasing number of people contributing to and being affected by air pollution, leading to 7 million early deaths each year. The key issue is human exposure to pollution within cities and the consequential effects on human health.

With new research conducted at MIT’s Senseable City Lab, human exposure to air pollution can now be accurately quantified at an unprecedented scale. Researchers mapped the movements of several million people using ubiquitous cell phone data, and intersected this information with neighborhood air pollution measures. Covering the expanse of New York City and its 8.5 million inhabitants, the study reveals where and when New Yorkers are most at risk of exposure to air pollution – with major implications for environment and public health policy.

Team solves mystery of London killer fog

Read the full story at EarthSky.

In 1952 a killer fog that contained pollutants covered London for five days, causing breathing problems and killing thousands of residents. The exact cause and nature of the fog has remained mostly unknown for decades, but an international team of scientists believes that the mystery has been solved. Their research, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on October 9, 2016, also suggests that the same air chemistry also happens today in China and other places.