Where are you most likely to die from air pollution?

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NASA map of North America showing premature deaths due to air pollution. Dark brown areas have more deaths than light brown regions; blue areas have seen a decline in deaths.

The Mid-Atlantic is among the areas of the United States where people are most likely to die from the effects of air pollution.

A new NASA map aims to show pollution's impact on the world's health, highlighting the parts of the globe where premature deaths from toxic air are most common. 

Industrial areas in China, India and Europe fare the worst, according to the map, which shows a University of North Carolina earth scientist's models for estimating the average number of deaths per square kilometer per year caused by air pollution. 

In the United States, the Mid-Atlantic, Great Lakes and Midwest regions are the most deadly, along with parts of southern California, the models show.

Though wind and solar power has grown in the Philadelphia region in recent years, Pennsylvania has long been a leader in coal energy plants.

The Environmental Protection Agency's latest data places Pennsylvania's carbon-dioxide emissions as the third-highest in the country.

And a number of Pennsylvania metropolitan areas, including Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg and Allentown, show up on the American Lung Association's lists of the most-polluted cities, based on ozone, year-round particle and short-term particle pollution. Other cities in the Mid-Atlantic and Great Lakes regions, such as Washington, D.C., Cincinnati and Cleveland, are also among the most-polluted.

The research used the difference in pollution levels between 1850 and 2000 to measure human-caused pollution. Some areas, such as much of the Southeast United States, showed improvements in air quality during that time.

The issue is also at the forefront of the political arena today, with the Obama administration is set to propose strict requirements for new coal power plants today, in an effort to reduce pollution and promote cleaner energy sources.


Contact Emily Babay at 215-854-2153 or ebabay@philly.com. Follow @emilybabay on Twitter.

Contact the Breaking News Desk at 215-854-2443 or BreakingNewsDesk@philly.com. Follow @phillynews on Twitter.

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