Refuting Myths about Air Pollution
AEI Newsletter

Awareness of air quality is healthy, but exaggeration of pollution levels is dangerous, Joel M. Schwartz and Steven F. Hayward argue in Air Quality in America: A Dose of Reality on Air Pollution Levels, Trends, and Health Risks (AEI Press, January 2008). This detailed, data-driven book rebuts mistaken perceptions that U.S. air quality is bad by documenting marked improvements over the past decades. "We show how results-focused regulatory policies can maintain healthful air," Schwartz and Hayward write, "while avoiding the collateral damage caused by the perverse incentives inherent in the current system."

Air Quality in America lays out five findings that undermine conventional wisdom about U.S. air quality: pollution levels have decreased despite increases in nominally "polluting" activities; the parts of the country with the highest pollution levels have improved the most; air quality will continue to improve in coming decades; pollution affects fewer people, less often, and with less severity than commonly believed; and, finally, regulators and activists often inflate air pollution levels and obscure positive trends. For example, the American Lung Association exaggerates the problem by applying local air pollution data to entire counties and regions, including large areas without substantial pollution.

Even worse, activists and journalists routinely ignore--or even mask--improvements in air quality. "Few Americans are aware of the vast improvement in the nation’s air quality," Schwartz and Hayward write. "Instead, many even believe air quality has worsened, will worsen further in the future, and is still a serious threat to most people’s health." Air Quality in America shows that the opposite is true.

For more information about this book, visit www.aei.org/book918/.

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine
About the Author

 

Steven F.
Hayward
  • Steven F. Hayward was previously the F.K. Weyerhaeuser Fellow at AEI. He is the author of the Almanac of Environmental Trends, and the author of many books on environmental topics. He has written biographies of Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan and of Winston Churchill, and the upcoming book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Presidents. He contributed to AEI's Energy and Environment Outlook series. 

What's new on AEI

AEI Election Watch 2014: What will happen and why it matters
image A nation divided by marriage
image Teaching reform
image Socialist party pushing $20 minimum wage defends $13-an-hour job listing
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 27
    MON
  • 28
    TUE
  • 29
    WED
  • 30
    THU
  • 31
    FRI
Monday, October 27, 2014 | 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
State income taxes and the Supreme Court: Maryland Comptroller v. Wynne

Please join AEI for a panel discussion exploring these and other questions about this crucial case.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 | 9:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
For richer, for poorer: How family structures economic success in America

Join Lerman, Wilcox, and a group of distinguished scholars and commentators for the release of Lerman and Wilcox’s report, which examines the relationships among and policy implications of marriage, family structure, and economic success in America.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 | 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
The 7 deadly virtues: 18 conservative writers on why the virtuous life is funny as hell

Please join AEI for a book forum moderated by Last and featuring five of these leading conservative voices. By the time the forum is over, attendees may be on their way to discovering an entirely different — and better — moral universe.

Thursday, October 30, 2014 | 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
A nuclear deal with Iran? Weighing the possibilities

Join us, as experts discuss their predictions for whether the United States will strike a nuclear deal with Iran ahead of the November 24 deadline, and the repercussions of the possible outcomes.

Thursday, October 30, 2014 | 5:00 p.m. – 6:15 p.m.
The forgotten depression — 1921: The crash that cured itself

Please join Author James Grant and AEI senior economists for a discussion about Grant's book, "The Forgotten Depression: 1921: The Crash That Cured Itself" (Simon & Schuster, 2014).

No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled today.
No events scheduled this day.