More than one in three Americans live in areas with unhealthy air, and in many areas it is getting worse, especially in urban neighborhoods. Nitrogen oxides, which form smog, increased 11% between 1970 and 1997. Sulfur dioxide emissions, which result in fine particulate pollution or soot, increased more than 9% from 1996-98 (over 1995 levels).
Recent studies have linked air pollution to:
- the risk of dying from cancer
- harming the blood vessels of healthy individuals
- low birth weight, premature births, stillbirths and infant deaths
- healthy, active children becoming 3-4 times more likely to develop asthma as well as measurable lung damage which could lead to lung disease.
Estimates are that soot results in 15,000 premature deaths every year. Smog and soot hit asthma sufferers the hardest.
- As air pollution has increased, so have asthma cases – by more than 60% since 1980.
- Between 1985 and 1995 there was a 45.3% increase in asthma deaths.
- One out of every three asthma victims is a child.
Air pollution causes significant damage to creation, including forest damage from acid rain, ozone eutrophication (over fertilization from nitrogen) of lakes and ponds, loss of fish and other aquatic species from acidification, and reproductive failures caused by mercury in fish and in birds that eat fish.
The above facts are compiled from the Evangelical Environmental Network (creationcare.org) and the Environmental Protection Agency. NCM seeks to provide information that will help educate the Church of the Nazarene about responsible stewardship of the earth.