Can You Afford Clean Air?

The Hinckley Institute Radio Hour (Original Air Date: January 26, 2022) This week on the program, a panel of experts discusses how bad air reinforces existing inequities and how to craft policy that addresses environmental inequality.

A recent study from Brigham Young University found that poor air quality decreased overall life expectancy for Utahns by two years. While data is not currently being collected on how dirty air plays into poor health, a proposed bill by Rep. Stephen Handy would allow a medical examiner to include air pollution on a certificate of death if they believe it “factored into the cause of death.” Rep. Handy claims this data would aid lawmakers in crafting more targeted and effective policies to address threats to public health and the environment.

This week’s panel discusses how existing pollution levels are already impacting the health and academic performance of low-income Utahns at disproportionate rates to those with higher income. The panel includes Daniel Mendoza, research assistant professor in Atmospheric Sciences and adjunct assistant professor in the Pulmonary Division at the School of Medicine at the University of Utah; Casey Mullen, doctoral student of sociology at the University of Utah; and Sen. Luz Escamilla, member of the Utah Legislature and the Air Quality Policy Advisory Board. Moderating today’s discussion will be Ayrel Clark-Profitt, Sustainability Office communications and engagement manager.

This forum was made in partnership with the Office of Sustainability.

This forum was recorded on November 22nd, 2021.

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