The American Lung Association’s “Zeroing in on Healthy Air” report, released today, reveals that the Chicago metro area ranks third among the top 25 metro areas nationwide that would benefit from the transition to vehicles powered by clean electricity generation. The switch would generate $46.5 billion in public health benefits and prevent 4,230 premature deaths, 113,000 asthma attacks and 561,000 lost workdays for Chicago and Naperville residents.
“The transportation sector is a leading contributor to air pollution and climate change,” said Kristina Hamilton, director of advocacy at the Lung Association. “Thankfully, the technologies and systems are in place to make these benefits a reality, especially in communities most impacted by harmful pollution today. We need city and state leaders to act to implement equitable policies and invest in the transition to healthy air. Especially as Chicago faces the impacts of being a transportation hub, this is a powerful and practical opportunity to take action to improve our economy, our health and our future.”
“Zeroing in on Healthy Air” outlines the broad benefits of the transition to a zero-emission transportation sector over the coming decades. The report illustrates the potential health and climate benefits if all new passenger vehicles sold are zero-emission by 2035 and all new trucks and buses sold are zero-emission by 2040. The report projects that the nation’s electric grid will be powered by clean, non-combustion electricity replacing dirty fossil fuels by 2035.
The report found that nationally, a widespread transition to electric vehicles would generate more than $1.2 trillion in health benefits and $1.7 trillion in additional climate benefits by 2050.
Climate change threatens the health of all Americans, from wildfires and extreme storms to worsening air pollution. And poor air quality caused by transportation and electricity generation contributes to a wide range of negative health impacts, including childhood asthma attacks, impaired lung function and development, lung cancer, heart attacks, strokes and premature deaths. These are sources of health disparities in lower-income communities and communities of color, both in terms of exposure to harmful air and the associated health consequences.
Achieving these major health and climate benefits will require dedicated and sustained leadership. Investment at all levels of government, and public education and engagement will ensure the transition to zero-emission vehicles provides clean air for everyone. The Lung Association is asking the public to sign its petition calling for more rapid transition to zero-emission vehicles and energy at Lung.org/EV.
For more information about "Zeroing in on Healthy Air,” visit Lung.org/EV.
About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, which has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and is a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.