U.S. Air Quality Declines: Study

FRIDAY, Oct. 25, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- After years of improvement, air quality in the United States has declined in recent years, according to a new study.

Carnegie Mellon University researchers analyzed Environmental Protection Agency data and found that fine particulate pollution increased an average of 5.5% nationwide between 2016 and 2018, after falling nearly 25ő over the previous seven years, The New York Times reported.

Likely reasons for the rise include increases in driving and the burning of natural gas, wildfires in the West, and decreased enforcement of the Clean Air Act, according to the study.

"After a decade or so of reductions, this increase is a real about-face," said study co-author Nick Muller, professor of economics, engineering and public policy, The Times reported.

Fine particulate pollution has been linked to a number of health problems such as asthma and respiratory inflammation, lung cancer, heart attack, stroke and miscarriage.

The study estimated that there were nearly 10,000 additional premature deaths between 2016 and 2018 due to the increase in fine particulate pollution, The Times reported.

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