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Is the air in the United States generally more or less polluted than it was in the 1980s?

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EPA data shows that outdoor levels of all criteria air pollutants have declined significantly since the 1980s. Criteria air pollutions are those that are deemed by the administrator of the EPA to be widespread and to "cause or contribute to air pollution which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare...." Likewise, combined emissions of hazardous air pollutants have declined by about 50% since the 1990s. Hazardous air pollutants are those that "present, or may present, through inhalation or other routes of exposure, a threat of adverse human health effects ... or adverse environmental effects...." A 2019 survey found that 40% of all voters, 52% of Democrat voters, and 28% of Trump voters falsely believe that the air today is generally more polluted than in the 1980s.

DocumentationCriteria Air Pollutants Hazardous Air Pollutants 2019 Survey



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