Study Links Air-Pollution Exposure to Violent Crime
Monday, October 21, 2019
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Researchers have found a correlation between exposure to air pollution and aggressive behavior or violent crime.
The health effects of air pollution might be noticeable to most Tennesseans, especially those suffering from asthma or other respiratory conditions, but the study's lead author Jesse Burkhardt, assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at Colorado State University, said the correlation between poor air quality and violent crime would be difficult to suss out on an individual or community level.
"Again, the effects are small,” Burkhardt said. “But, if you aggregate them across the entire U.S. or across the counties in our sample, at least, the costs end up being somewhat large."
Results of the study, which merged FBI crime statistics with a map of air pollution in counties across the U.S., will be published in the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management.
The state Division of Air Pollution Control is responsible for air monitoring in all of Tennessee's 91 counties. Several counties, including Davidson, Hamilton, Knox and Shelby have established their own local air pollution control programs.
Burkhardt said this type of data could be useful for policymakers trying to improve the quality of life in their communities.
"This study basically adds a little more to that benefit side, saying that if you reduce pollution, you might see a reduction in crime as well,” he said.
He also pointed out that when it's not feasible to perform a controlled experiment, scientists often rely on identifying connections in aggregate data sets.
"As follow-up research, we try to explore the mechanisms that we think might be underlying these relationships,” Burkhardt said. “So, as an example, one of our next papers is we're going to look for a relationship between online test performance and pollution exposure."
According to the American Lung Association, the Knoxville metro region ranks 25th in the nation for year-round particle pollution, while Nashville and Memphis fare slightly better, showing improvements in cleaning up both ozone and particle pollution.
get more stories like this via email
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Arkansans ages 16 to 26 who are or have been in the foster-care system now are eligible for one-time payments of at least $750…
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Jessica Molina of Perrysburg says she was inspired as a child by the spirit of activism, as she watched her parents participate in …
Health and Wellness
CHICAGO - Overdose deaths in Illinois rose by more than a quarter from 2019 to 2020, and medical experts are warning that pills not prescribed by a …
Health and Wellness
MINNEAPOLIS - As COVID cases trend upward again, public-health experts are setting the record straight on certain storylines about new infections…
APPLETON, Wis. - The pandemic paused many facets of life, and a new report says wellness checkups for children were among them. With school resuming …
ALBANY, N.Y. - A ballot measure could give New York residents the constitutional right to a healthy environment, and on Tuesday a group of state …
SALEM, Ore. - Young people of color are locked up at disproportionately high rates compared with their white peers, despite recent signs the gap is …
HELENA, Mont. - A Montana campaign is renewing its efforts to help identify developmental delays in young children. The Centers for Disease Control …