Shift to EVs could prevent millions of kid illnesses by 2050, report finds

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A widespread transition to zero-emission vehicles and electricity would dramatically improve the health and well-being of children nationwide and save hundreds of infant lives by 2050, estimates a new report by the American Lung Association.

The shift to greener transportation and energy would also prevent 2.79 million pediatric asthma attacks and millions of other respiratory symptoms over the next quarter of a century, according to the findings released on Wednesday.

The projected health impacts are based on the premise of all new passenger vehicles sold to be zero-emissions by 2035 and all new trucks the same five years later. It also projects the nation’s electric grid to be powered by clean, non-combustion renewable energy by 2035.

The transition from 2020 to 2050 would also prevent 147,000 pediatric acute bronchitis cases, 2.67 million pediatric upper respiratory symptoms, 1.87 million pediatric lower respiratory symptoms and 508 infant mortality cases, the study estimates.


The push to electrify the nation’s school buses

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“As families across the country have experienced in recent months, climate change increases air pollution, extreme weather, flooding events, allergens, as well as heat and drought, leading to greater risk of wildfires,” Harold Wimmer, president and CEO of the group devoted to preventing lung disease said in a news release. “Kids are more vulnerable to the impacts,” he added.

After decades of improvements due to regulations like the Clean Air Act of 1970 that restricted pollutants spewed by factories and cars, the nation has recently seen a rise in poor air quality linked to global warming, separate research recently showed. 

First Street Foundation found that about 1 in 4 Americans are already exposed to air quality deemed “unhealthy” by the Air Quality Index. That number could grow to 125 million from 83 million Americans within decades, according to the foundation, which analyzes climate risks.

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