Smog Forecast: More, Thanks to Warming Temperatures

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) has published a new report examining how rising temperatures due to global warming increase ground-level ozone, or smog pollution. As we’ve mentioned before, warming temperatures are expected to worsen smog pollution.

UCS’s study looks at just how much of an impact warming temperatures may have, finding that by increasing smog levels,

...temperature increases could result in approximately 11.8 million additional serious respiratory illnesses, 29,600 more infant and senior hospitalizations, and 4.1 million additional lost school days in 2050.

That’s in 2050, not by 2050. Every year temperatures rise, our smog problems will get worse as will the health effects.

Who does this hit the hardest? Kids. As the American Academy of Pediatrics has pointed out (among many other institutions) kids are particularly vulnerable to smog pollution.   

Children and infants are among the most susceptible to many of the air pollutants. In addition to associations between air pollution and respiratory symptoms, asthma exacerbations, and asthma hospitalizations, recent studies have found links between air pollution and preterm birth, infant mortality, deficits in lung growth, and possibly, development of asthma.

The UCS report, coming at the start of smog season, helps to highlight the risks today’s and future kids face if polluters and their allies in Congress are successful in preventing the EPA from taking action to reduce carbon and other pollution that contributes to smog.

We’ve already seen too many members of Congress ready to put kids’ health at risk for the benefit of polluters. Parents should be asking their US Senators and Congressmen if they are willing to commit to protecting kids from air pollution by allowing the EPA to do its job of implementing the Clean Air Act.