The Particulars of Particulate Matter

The deadliest form of air pollution, microscopic particulate matter penetrates “deep into the lungs, bypassing the body’s natural defenses.” Its effects range from lung disease to cancer to cognitive impairment, yet the public knows relatively little about its toll on their health, write Michael Greenstone and Claire Qing Fan of the University of Chicago.
 
Enter the Air Quality Life Index (AQLI). Based on University of Chicago research, the tool quantifies the toll of air pollution using one key metric: life expectancy.
 
The AQLI brings sobering news: particulate matter air pollution shaves nearly 2 years off of global life expectancy. In parts of India and China—the worst-hit nations—lifespans are reduced by 6 years.
 
What would your life expectancy be if air pollution was at a level deemed safe by the WHO? Visit the AQLI to find out.

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