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:

March: "Where Does Air Pollution Come From?"

March: Where Does Air Pollution Come From?

Outdoor air pollution poses a serious threat to our nation's health. Reducing that pollution requires looking at all sources and determining how best to get them cleaned up.

Here are some of the main sources of outdoor air pollution:

  • Electric Utilities
    Power plants burning coal, natural gas, oil and biomass and other fuels produce air pollutants that harm lung health.
  • Transportation
    Cars, trucks, and other transportation equipment pollutes the air we breathe and harms human health.
  • Residential Sources
    Heating, cooling and powering our homes often produce emissions that can harm health, including in our own neighborhoods.
  • Commercial and Industrial
    Harmful emissions come from heating, cooling and powering businesses and industrial operations, as well as from manufacturing processes.
  • Emergencies and Natural Disasters
    Wildfires, flooding, hurricanes and other natural events can create unhealthy air. And disaster cleanup often adds to the challenge.

Climate change makes it harder to reduce pollution in the air we breathe.
Warmer temperatures can increase the levels of ozone and particle pollution, due to warmer temperatures and more frequent and intense wildfires.

Indoor air pollution can cause or contribute to the development or worsening of infections, lung cancer and chronic lung diseases such as asthma.

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

Right now, we need your help in a time-sensitive, critically important fight to maintain stringent pollution controls for coal-fired power plants. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is trying to undermine limits on mercury and air toxics from power plants adopted in 2011 and already in place.

Thanks to strong limits on emissions, the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards have saved up to 11,000 lives every year. They have dramatically reduced emissions of mercury, carcinogens and toxic acid gases as well as particle pollution.

Please join thousands of health advocates in telling EPA to keep these lifesaving standards fully in place – do not undermine or weaken them.

Learn More: Resources for This Month

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

Allergy & Asthma Network 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 logo

Regional/State/Local Partners

Asthma 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 March

American Heart Association 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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