The 92 percent: A look at city air quality

Some 92% of people living in cities do not breathe safe air.

As we breathe, we are exposed to particles of pollution that penetrate deep into our lungs, bloodstream and bodies. Over time, damage from these particles causes about one-third of deaths from stroke, chronic respiratory disease, and lung cancer as well as one quarter of deaths from heart attack. Ground-level ozone, produced from the interaction of many different pollutants in sunlight, is also a cause of asthma and chronic respiratory illnesses.

Pediatricians, parents, and children see the impact of climate change every day.  Worsening heat waves, severe weather events, changing allergy seasons, and shifting infectious disease patterns affect many children directly. With only 1 in 10 people breathing safe air according to WHO guidelines, children are left particularly vulnerable. Climate change presents serious challenges for health,  but it it also an opportunity to move health and the planet forward. 

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