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Blog 28 June 2023

Roundup: Air quality news June 2023

From tracking wildlife to record breaking wildfire smoke, here’s your rundown of the latest news, research and insights on air quality.

Air pollution accounts for over 7 million deaths every year – more than twice as many as from malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS combined. It doesn’t have to be this way. At Clean Air Fund, we know that sharing evidence and learning is crucial to supporting the clean air movement. Here, we explore the latest news, research and efforts to tackle air pollution across the world.

“Safe” levels of air pollution can still be detrimental to brain function and development

Researchers at the University of California linked levels of air pollution deemed “safe” by the Environmental Protection Agency to cognitive and developmental issues with the brain. Looking at MRI data from over 9,000 participants in the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study, this is the largest nationwide study of youth brain health in the United States to date.

Air quality sensors: a game changer for tracking wildlife?

Canadian and British scientists were surprised to find that air pollution monitors inadvertently capture environmental DNA. A test case recovered environmental DNA from more than 180 different plants, fungi, insects, mammals and amphibians from air quality filters located in Scotland and London from September to October 2021 and April and May of 2022.

Air pollution aged hospital covid patients by 10 years

A Belgian study revealed that patients exposed to dirty air experienced Covid-19 as if they were 10 years older. Researchers found that these patients spent four days longer in hospital and faced a 36% increase in the risk of needing intensive care treatment.

58% of Black mothers knew nothing at all about the impact of air pollution during pregnancy, reveals new survey 

A new report by Black Maternal Health surveyed what Black mothers and Black pregnant women in London think about the impact of air pollution. The report platforms the voices and experiences of Black pregnant women and mothers by focusing on understanding their attitudes, behaviours and experiences. Authors called for 14 recommendations for policymakers and healthcare professional bodies. 

Study connects weather, air pollution and suicide 

A study collected data on suicide attempts over a 17-year period and found that various meteorological and air pollution conditions were related to suicide. Published in the Journal of Affected Disorders, the study involved over 1,700 patients and found a significant negative relationship between the number of suicide attempts and NO levels. 

Wildfire smoke caused worst air pollution in recent recorded history  

The US experienced its worst toxic air pollution from wildfire smoke in its recent recorded history, last Wednesday. A rapid analysis by Stamford University revealed that people in New York were exposed to levels of pollution more than five times above the national air quality standard. The rapid analysis found that smoke billowing south from forest fires in Canada caused Americans to suffer the worst day of average exposure to such pollution since a dataset on smoky conditions started in 2006. 

Poor air quality linked to aggressive behaviour in dogs

Dog bites are predicted to be 11% more likely than usual on hot and sunny days with high air pollution levels (fine particulate matter and ozone pollution), reveals recent Scientific Reports study. Across seven cities in the US, they studied a total of 69,525 dog bite incidents that were reported from 2009 to 2019.

See more

Wildfires, climate change and air pollution: a vicious cycle

Wildfires are drastically increasing and wreaking more havoc on people and environment across borders. Tackling this urgent global challenge requires an interdisciplinary approach.

Air quality news roundup: May 2023

From memory loss to outdoor air purifiers, here’s your rundown of the latest news, research and insights on air quality.