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Climate change and air pollution are inextricably linked.  Fossil fuel combustion is directly responsible for heating up the planet, and in contributing to poor air quality.  A hotter world also makes conditions ripe for wildfires, which then further worsen air quality.  In 2016, air pollution resulted in 2.9 million premature deaths worldwide.  Exposure to ambient air pollution is the largest environmental risk factor for premature death by causing cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.  There are a large variety in types of air pollution, and the most impactful to health is called fine particulate matter (PM2.5).  Health sequelae of exposure include impaired lung growth, pneumonia, increased risk for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and more.  A 2019 Lancet report stated that >90% of children are exposed to PM2.5 levels above WHO guidelines.  For a literature review on air pollution and children's health, please refer to our Further Reading page.

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