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Worldwide health statistic underscores danger of air pollution

Environmental law matters can sometimes seem somewhat impersonal and/or focused on short-term consequences. The World Health Organization just released an alarming statistic related to the environment that all people should be able to relate to and take seriously.

Matters don't get more personal or pressing than life and death. According to the WHO, one out of eight deaths in the world can be at least partly attributed to contaminated air. The bulk of those pollution-related deaths are of victims from outside of the U.S., but the proof of pollution danger is relevant everywhere.

The WHO classifies air pollution as the number one environmental health risk in the world. Many of the reported 7 million deaths caused by air pollution are linked to toxic smog. There is also an environmental health risk inside of the homes of some people throughout the world due to coal or wood-burning stoves in poorly ventilated homes.

As you likely would assume, environmental laws in Georgia and the U.S. overall differ from those in countries with the highest rates of air pollution-related deaths. Though fewer people die here from toxic air than in places like China or India, the lives lost to air pollution anywhere show why environmental laws are important.

Businesses that don't live up to government standards regarding environmental protection need to be held accountable. Environmental groups that don't live up to their responsibility to combat pollution should be held accountable. Any failure to follow anti-pollution regulations isn't just a personal matter; it is a matter of world-wide safety and health.

Source: Businessweek, "One in Eight Deaths Worldwide Is Linked to Air Pollution," Christina Larson, March 27, 2014

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