Those breathing poorer air in WA live sicker, die younger, report says 

Source: Seattle Times


Residents in parts of Washington disproportionately impacted by poor air quality are, on average, sicker and die younger compared with the rest of the state, a new report from the Washington Department of Ecology found. 

Released Thursday, state researchers investigated health and air quality data from 16 communities with vulnerable populations that are “overburdened” with air pollution, meaning they experience greater health risk than most other communities. 

Reviewing data from 2016 to 2020, researchers found people in these communities lived an average of 2.4 years less than people across the rest of Washington. 

The report also found older adults in these communities are twice as likely to die from health conditions linked to breathing fine particles, also known as PM2.5, from human-caused sources compared with the statewide average. Older adults who are also people of color are at higher risk of dying from a health condition linked to poor air quality compared with white older adults. 

Across Washington, an estimated 728, or about 1.3% of deaths, were attributable to air pollution in 2019, according to an analysis by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. 

Researchers compiled data from several agencies, including the state’s air monitoring network, the state Department of Health, industry greenhouse gas reports and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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