Carnegie Mellon University
February 17, 2022

Muller quoted in The Hill on the disparities in the impact of air pollution

Engineering and Public Policy Professor Nicholas Muller was quoted by The Hill on how pollution disproportionately affects certain racial and ethnic groups, especially older Black and Hispanic individuals. 

A new studyco-authored by Muller, found that the federal government’s approach to air pollution management largely ignores differences across race and ethnicity — underestimating associated mortality costs by $100 billion. 

According to the study, current regulatory analyses assume that all populations are affected equally by air pollution, but older Black and Hispanic individuals are much more likely to die prematurely due to air pollution exposure.

“Underlying mortality rates, pollution exposure and pollution vulnerability differ significantly across racial and ethnic groups,” said Muller.

In the study, the authors sought to determine how race and ethnicity play into the impacts of air pollution on human health and mortality,

While their approach did not change the total number of deaths, it did disperse the deaths differently across groups — linking an increased risk of premature mortality to specific racial and ethnicity characteristics. When they factored in racial impacts, the researchers found that premature mortality estimates related to fine particulate matter pollution jumped by 150 percent for older Black Americans and by 52 percent for older Hispanic Americans.

To read the full article, go here.