Climate change and air pollution are closely linked. Air pollution we generate in our daily lives contributes to climate change. The resulting increases in temperature will, in turn, worsen pollution. Air pollution contributes to a number of illnesses, including asthma, heart disease, and stroke. Low-income communities and communities of color in California are especially vulnerable to air pollution.
How does climate change affect air quality?
Climate change affects air quality in different ways.
- Increased temperatures, sunlight, and humidity increases ozone and dust.
- Increased temperatures and carbon dioxide cause flowers to bloom earlier, increasing allergens like pollen and mold spores.
How does air quality impact health?
Increases in air pollution will impact everyone's health.
- Air pollution can penetrate the protective layer of our lungs and cause inflammation. Inflammation can cause respiratory disease and symptoms such as chest pain, wheezing, and coughing, even among healthy individuals.
- Small particles of air pollution can enter the bloodstream, increasing the risk for heart attacks, strokes, and neurological illness.
Individuals who already have asthma or other respiratory diseases are even more sensitive to increases in air pollution, dust, and allergens.
Who will be most affected?
- Pregnant women
- The elderly
- The poor
- Individuals with respiratory diseases
- Individuals who are active outdoors (workers, athletes, etc.)
- Individuals who spend time in areas with high traffic levels