Donald Trump likes to say the United States has the “cleanest air,” but data shows that air pollution is getting worse after years of improvement. He’s repeatedly tried to gut environmental programs and blocked rules that protect our air from pollution, which can cause higher rates of asthma, heart and lung disease, and even cancer
The air quality throughout the country is dramatically declining. 150 million people, or nearly half of America’s population, is breathing heavily polluted air — putting lives at risk. And Trump’s administration is actively working to make our air dirtier, benefitting corporate polluters’ profits.
Trump’s administration has loosened and even eliminated rules that stop polluters from spewing dangerous pollutants – like carbon, mercury, lead, and arsenic – into the air. Now, after decades of improvement, U.S. air quality is getting worse — two years into the Trump administration, there were 15% more unhealthy air days than there were in the four years before. And experts say the air pollution can cause higher rates of asthma, heart, and lung disease and even cancer including in children.
This is especially dangerous for communities of color who are already more likely to carry the burden of toxic air pollution, living or working near pollution resources or in cities with dirtier air, resulting in much higher rates of asthma, cancers, and other life-threatening disease. For low-income communities of color, the inequities are even greater.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the last thing Trump should have done is make it harder to breathe, but that’s exactly what happened when Trump’s EPA proposed to not strengthen the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Particulate Matter. This proposal will allow unsafe levels of the soot pollution that some research already shows could increase the risk of dying from COVID-19 or suffering from asthma in areas across the country. To make matters tragically worse, these high pollution areas are far more likely to be in communities of color or low-wealth communities.
Trump also gutted protections under the Clean Power Plan, which puts more pollution into our air — making it harder for kids to breathe and forcing 140,000 more missed school days. By doing away with the first-ever carbon pollution limits on power plants, Trump put thousands of lives at risk, intensified the climate crisis, and threatened our transition to a clean, safe energy future for the sole benefit of corporate polluters.