Air Pollution and Climate Change Cost the Average American $2500 Per Year

A report from the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) shows that air pollution and climate change cost each American an average of $2,500 per year in health care. The researchers used data from dozens of published scientific papers.

The report includes costs from air pollution (such as ozone, soot, and allergens), vector-borne infectious diseases (from ticks and mosquitos, which flourish under warmer temperatures caused by climate change), and climate-change-related disasters (like heat, wildfires, and hurricanes). Together, these health-related costs add up to over $820 billion per year, calculated from the resulting premature deaths, hospitalizations, serious injuries, mental health ailments, lost wages, missed days of work, and other health problems associated.

The burden of these costs falls most heavily on vulnerable communities. However, the report says that all Americans are paying for it even if their health is not specifically harmed, as the largest portion of the illness costs is covered by the tax-supported Medicare and Medicaid health insurance programs.