Year of Air Pollution & Health | American Lung Association

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What Is the Year of Air Pollution & Health?

We are taking a full year to celebrate progress in reducing pollution in the air we breathe and highlight remaining obstacles to healthy air for all. Each month, we will spotlight the lifesaving importance of healthy air, focusing on different themes such as how air pollution harms health, who is at risk and ways to take action to protect our communities—especially in light of the challenge of climate change.

View previous months' themes:

August: "Air Pollution from Wildfires"

August: Air Pollution from Wildfires

This month during the Year of Air Pollution & Health, the focus is on wildfires and the dangerous air pollution they produce. Beyond the devastating destruction that wildfires cause, they are also a major source of air pollution.

Wildfire smoke is a mixture of many harmful pollutants, and fine particle pollution (PM 2.5) is one of the most dangerous. Even over a few days, high levels of particle pollution can increase the risk of heart disease and asthma attacks, and can even lead to early death.

Wildfires not only harm air quality nearby– it also impacts places hundreds of miles away, since smoke can travel long distances.

Unfortunately, climate change fuels more frequent and intense wildfires, and longer wildfire seasons. Hotter temperatures and lack of rainfall increase the risk of wildfires. Even with current measures to reduce particle pollution, these climatic changes have led to increased high particle pollution days in many places in the U.S. It is critical to address climate change in order to protect our health from the dangers of wildfires.

This month is focused on sharing information about how to protect yourself and your family from the dangerous of wildfire smoke. It is also focused on amplifying opportunities for you to help address climate change and share your experiences with wildfire smoke to help people understand the real-world health impacts of wildfires.

Events in August

View Recording: NASA Health and Air Quality Briefing
Interested in learning more about NASA health and air quality programs? Watch this briefing (Note: you may have to refresh the page once you open the link) hosted by the American Lung Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics. In this briefing, you will hear from NASA Health and Air Quality Program Manager John Haynes, who provides an overview of Health and Air Quality Applications in the Applied Sciences Program of the NASA Earth Science Division. He presents a selection of environmental health projects related to wildfires, air pollution, drought, and extreme heat, and illustrates how Earth observations have supported surveillance and monitoring programs, enhanced communication among stakeholders, and advanced coordinated response efforts to mitigate environmental health risks.

Watch now

Register Today: August 20 Webinar for Health Professionals "Protecting Lung Health During Wildfires"
Wildfires are a growing threat to lung health. The American Lung Association has partnered with the American Association For Respiratory Care, American Public Health Association, National Association of County and City Health Officials, and the National Environmental Health Association to host a webinar on protecting lung health during wildfires. This webinar for health professionals will highlight the health impacts of wildfire smoke and information and resources to protect your patients during the wildfire season.

Register here

What Can You Do to Help Protect Healthy Air for All?

Right now, climate change is putting Americans' lung health and lives at risk. Our nation needs to cut the carbon pollution that causes climate change to avoid the worst impacts, and we must also deal with the health harms that are already here, including increased risk of harmful pollution from wildfire smoke. A bill in Congress called the "Climate Change Health Protection and Promotion Act" would help address communities plan for and address these health impacts of climate change. Please urge your senators and representatives to support this lifesaving legislation today. It only takes a minute!

Share Your Story

Learn More: Resources for this Month

From the American Lung Association

From the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America

From the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

From the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

From the California Air Resources Board

From Climate Smart Missoula

From Kaiser Permanente

  • A powerful video featuring Joshua Weil, MD, talk about being a physician leader caught deep in the middle of the California wildfires

Year At-A-Glance Calendar

View and share our monthly topics in the Year of Air Pollution & Health. Download PDF

Year of Air Pollution & Health poster (small)

Official Year of Air Pollution & Health Partner Organizations

National Partners

UN Environment, North America Office logoAlliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments logoAmerican Public Health Association logoAsthma and Allergy Foundation of America logoHealth Care Without Harm logoHealth Resources in Action logoMedical Society Consortium on Climate and Health logoNational Association of County and City Health OfficialsPhysicians for Social Responsibility logoUN Environment, North America Office  logo

Regional/State/Local Partners

American Medical Student Association, Virginia Commonwealth University ChapterAsthma Coalition of Los Angeles County logoCalifornia Pan-Ethnic Health Network logoCalifornia's American College of Emergency Physicians logoMedical Society of Sonoma County logoMendocino-Lake County Medical SocietyMI Air MI HealthSonoma County Medical Association logo

Partners for August

Alameda-Contra Costa Medical Association logo California Academy of Preventative Medicine logo Montana Asthma Control Program logo Regional Asthma Management and Prevention (RAMP) logo Solano County Medical Society logo Virginia Mason Memorial logo

If your health or medical organization is interested in collaborating with the Year of Air Pollution & Health, please send a message with appropriate contact information so we can follow up: [email protected].

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