The air in rural areas may be just as toxic as the pollution in cities

A new study states that rural area might not be all that cleaner than air in urban areas. Potential lung damage could even be more severe in rural areas.



February 1, 2022 - 10:26 AM

Rural air pollution primarily stems from the agriculture industry. Photo by Harvest Public Media/Dana Cronin

A new study suggests the notion of clean, country air might be misleading.

Traditionally, air quality has been measured by the size of pollution particles or, more scientifically, particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less. Considered that way, urban air tends to be more polluted than rural air because the size of pollution particles is generally larger.

But a University of Illinois team looked at the toxicity of those particles, scientifically known as the oxidative potential, and found that pollution particles in rural areas can be twice as toxic even though they may be smaller.

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