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BROOKLYN, NY/SAN DIEGO, CA: A report from research and technology company First Street finds 83 million Americans are exposed annually to air quality thresholds categorized as “unhealthy” by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Air Quality Index.

Among those at risk nearly 10 million may have daily exposure to “very unhealthy” air and 1.5 million risk experiencing “hazardous” conditions.

The report highlights the contribution of climate change to the increasing risk of exposure to poor air. First Street said these trends are a reversal of “hard fought gains in air quality improvement over the past half century”.

In the western U.S. EPA data has recorded a 477 percent increase in poor air days between 2000 and 2021 with the most persistent in California’s Central Valley, the San Francisco metro area, and much of Southern California.

Over the next 30 years, the population exposed to “Unhealthy” days is forecast to rise 51 percent while “Very Unhealthy” and “Hazardous” conditions will increase 13 percent and 27 percent respectively.

“The statistical signals are clear. We are seeing rapid increases in air pollutants after decades of legislation to reduce pollution,” commented Matthew Eby, founder and CEO of First Street. “The major concern moving forward is that [the] climate is much harder to regulate than industry," he continued.

First Street calculates the past, present, and future climate risk for every U.S. property for citizens, industry and government. https://riskfactor.com/

In a related announcement, the Climate Action Campaign (CAC) notes a record 28 billion-dollar weather and climate events in the U.S. last year killed 492 people and cost US$92.9 billion.

CAC says the lack of remedial action has penalized the country US$120.6 billion a year for the past five years according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

"Every passing moment, the relentless onslaught of climate change inflicts a toll on our environment, our health, and our wallets – to the tune of nearly $3,000 per second,” comments Margie Alt, CAC campaign director. “This exorbitant price tag, driven by an unparalleled number of weather and climate disasters, reinforces the urgent need for the Biden Administration to use every tool at their disposal to cut climate pollution.”

The campaign includes the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, Dream Corps Green For All, Earthjustice, Environment America, Michigan Clinicians for Climate Action, National Wildlife Federation, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, and United Women in Faith. https://www.actonclimate.com/
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