Topic Areas:

Manuscript Keywords:

Air Pollution, Particulates, Air Quality, Health, Electric Vehicles, Solar, Disease, Cities, Urban

Community Keywords:

Why is this useful?

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving air quality are significant global challenges. This review addresses air quality, the impact of air pollution on health, and community actions to improve air quality and associated health equity


Larry E. Erickson1, Wendy Griswold2, Ronaldo G. Maghirang1, Brian P. Urbaszewski3


Air quality is impacting health in many cities in most countries because of particulate pollution, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and ozone. Very small particulates from engine emissions and coal fired electric power plants enter the lungs and pollute the blood of urban residents leading to a burden of disease with more than 3 million premature deaths per year attributed to outdoor air pollution. Welfare losses including premature deaths associated with air pollution were about $5 trillion in 2013. A global transition to electric vehicles, and the generation of electricity without combustion emissions would improve air quality significantly and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This transition is in progress in many parts of the world with more than 2 million electric vehicles in service in 2017. Electric bus and electric taxi sales are increasing, and many large cities have multiple programs to improve air quality. When health costs are considered, it is very appropriate for communities to take action to improve air quality and health. This work reviews and reports many positive actions that are in progress in larger cities.


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