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Benchmark Policy Brief: The Issue of Air Pollution

A number of particular environmental issues can impede human wellness and health. In the United States, the majority of individuals have fallen victim to different public health problems caused by environmental issues. For instance, the issue of air pollution has become rampant and it is bring about health problems such as cardiovascular disease. This essay explores the issue of air pollution, detailing the effect it has on the population and how it can be solved.

Prevalence of the Issue

Over 135 million people in the United States reside in heavily polluted areas, and the burden of living with unhealthy air is not equally shared. Compared to whites, people of color are three times more likely to breathe in polluted air. Findings from American Lung Association (2019) indicate that four in ten of the American citizens; which is approximately 41.1% higher than the 135 million people in the country, reside in over 217 counties across the nation with monitors that are sensing air pollution and the threat of air pollution continues to worsen. Each year, this environmental issue continues to increase, especially due to the high industrialization in the country. Industries in the United States are the greatest contributors to the contamination of air and domestic wood burning and diesel exhaust fumes. The Clean Air Act was initiated to control and reduce air pollution (Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, n.d.). However, even after efforts of instilling various policies such as the Clean Air Act, controlling air pollution has been challenging. The prevalence of air pollution in the United States has gravely affected all individuals causing serious health implications such as heart disease. Polluted air destroys the inner walls of a person’s blood vessels, causing them to become harder and narrower. As a result, the blood vessel movement is restricted, raising a person’s blood pressure, straining the heart.

Problem Statement

Air pollution in the United States is one of the most prevalent environmental issues. More than half of the population in the United States live in the nation’s urban centers. As the population in the nation continues to grow, the prevalence of air pollution has worsened. Air pollution affects the entire nation, but more than the whites, the environmental issue is most present in areas occupied by people of color. The air is mostly polluted by toxic gases released into the atmosphere from the industries (American Lung Association, 2019). The toxic gases are also released from truck exhausts, cars, and mold spores. As a result of this environmental issue, the population of the United States has suffered severe health consequences such as heart disease. Various policies have been initiated in an effort to reduce and control the environmental health issue; however, the issue has only worsened with each passing year.

Suggestions for Addressing the Health Issue

To reduce air pollution in the United States, various strategies ought to be implemented. Industrialization is the most prominent cause of air pollution in the nation; as such, industries should opt for the use of renewable energy like solar, which does not release toxic gases into the environment. Industries burn great amounts of coal to produce electricity, yet it releases toxic gases; instead, clean energy can be incorporated to reduce air pollution. Also, instead of using private means, the people in the nation should mostly use public means for transport. In so doing, the number of vehicles that release toxic air is decreased, thus making the environment a safe place to live. Findings from United States Environmental Protection Agency (2020) state that industries should use non-toxic material. Several industries use toxic materials in their production, for instance, paint and coating. Hazardous heavy metal is released into the air during the traditional approaches of manufacturing coatings and paint. The mixing operations are linked with ground-level ozone and volatile organic compounds. Particulate pollutions are released into the surrounding environment and air from processes such as grinding and milling. As such, to reduce air pollutions, such mixtures should be replaced with non-hazardous biocides. To control air pollution in the United States, the government has initiated policies like the Clean Air Act, which advocates for the reduction of the use of materials that contaminate the air (UCS, 2012). The Act pertains to various measures directed towards attaining air quality standards that do not pose a threat to the health of the country’s citizens.

Impact on Health Care Delivery System

Air pollution contributes to various advanced health effects, and heart disease is no exception. The majority of the individuals, especially the people of color in the United States, have suffered from heart disease as a result of air pollution. It is from such that the health care system is impacted as the pollution increases the number of admissions in hospitals. With admissions comes overwhelming expenditure to treat the individuals (Slama et al., 2019). Furthermore, as a result of pollution, the mortality rates in health care centers tend to increase. Air pollution is very detrimental to the health of individuals as it causes severe diseases that can result in death.


Air pollution is one of the environmental issues that has continued to prevail in the United States. The issue has affected several individuals, especially the black community. Pollution is caused by toxic gases released into the air from factories, cars, and wild bush fires. When such toxic gases are inhaled, people tend to suffer from an illness like heart disease. The government of the United States has set out various policies like the Clean Air Act to reduce and control the pollution of air. However, despite the various strategies, air pollution continues to increase.


American Lung Association. (2019). state of Air.

Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. (n.d.). Air Quality Act (1967) or the Clean Air Act (CAA) | Bureau of ocean energy management.

Slama, A., Śliwczyński, A., Woźnica, J., Zdrolik, M., Wiśnicki, B., Kubajek, J., Turżańska-Wieczorek, O., Gozdowski, D., Wierzba, W., & Franek, E. (2019). Impact of air pollution on hospital admissions with a focus on respiratory diseases: A time-series multi-city analysis. Environmental Science and Pollution Research26(17), 16998-17009.

UCS. (2012). The Clean Air Act.

United States Environmental Protection Agency. (2020, August 20). Managing air quality – Control strategies to achieve air pollution reduction | US EPA.


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