Air Pollution from Farms Leads to 17,900 U.S. Deaths Per Year, Study Finds

You may have read news stories in the last few days about the air pollution related to industrial agriculture. More specifically, meat production is the largest contributor to the pollution from the agricultural sector. Politicians that continue to belittle the reality and science of the climate crisis notwithstanding, meat consumption is indeed an enormous contributor to greenhouse gases and air pollution Nationwide, nearly 18,000 deaths are caused by air pollution from industrial agriculture. Read More Here

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that livestock production is responsible for 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, while other organizations like the Worldwatch institute have estimated it could be as much as 51 percent. Even in the more modest estimate, this is more than all the cars, trucks, planes, and ships in the world.

One reason for this is that more than a third of all raw materials and fossil fuels consumed in the U.S. are used in animal production. Specifically, livestock accounts for an estimated nine percent of global carbon dioxide emissions, 35 to 40 percent of global methane emissions, and 65 percent of nitrous oxide emissions.

A study in Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences Journal, as reported by Inside Climate News, looked at the air quality impacts of specific foods and productions systems, and comes as livestock agriculture is increasingly scrutinized for its climate-warming impacts. Jason Hill, a professor of bioproducts and biosystems engineering at the University of Minnesota, which led the study, said “Air quality is the largest environment contributor to human health damage and agriculture is known to be a contributor to reduced air quality…”