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Cass R. Sunstein

Air Pollution Has Spiked. Is Trump to Blame?

Levels of fine particulate matter have increased in the last two years, with deadly results, while enforcement actions have decreased.

Yes, that’s dirt you’re breathing.

Yes, that’s dirt you’re breathing.

Photographer: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

In terms of public health, one of the worst air pollutants is fine particulate matter. From 2009 to 2016, average levels of these particulates in the ambient air in the U.S. plummeted by 24.2 percent. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that from 2016 to 2018, average levels jumped by 5.5 percent.