Feb. 12 (UPI) — More than 83 million people in the United States are currently exposed yearly to “unhealthy’ air quality as defined by the Environmental Protection Agency created by climate change, according to a new report on Monday.
The figure, which represents 25% of the U.S. population, was produced by the Air Quality Model created by First Street, a research and technology company to studies climate change and its financial risk.
The report said of the 83 million facing poor air quality, the air for 10 million falls in the “very unhealthy” levels and another 1.5 million are at “hazardous” levels.
The Air Quality Model revealed that locations like the Central Valley of California and the San Francisco metro area experience poor air quality for days totaling up to three months per year.
“Understanding the likelihood and persistence of poor air quality exposure is important due to the well-documented impacts on health, outdoor labor productivity, and the nuisance of smoke impacting daily routines,” Jeremy Porter, the climate implications research head at First Street said.
“We are just starting to see the beginning of the impact this hazard will have on our daily lives and the larger economy going forward.”
The report said Seattle and Portland, Ore., are expected to see nearly two more weeks of poor air quality in the future with the air continuing to worsen first in large metropolitan areas over the next three decades.
“The statistical signals are clear,” Matthew Eby, founder and CEO of First Street, said in a statement. “The major concern moving forward is that climate is much harder to regulate than industry.”
The report comes after a World Health Organization study released last March that said only six countries met its air quality guidelines — Australia, Estonia, Finland, Grenada, Iceland and New Zealand.