Take a deep breath. Hold it. Now, release. Breathing is an amazing bodily function, one that is fundamental to life and an act that we do both automatically and conscientiously. Though we are acutely aware of changes in our breathing—too fast, too shallow, too loud—most people give little thought to what is in the air we breathe.
With an estimated 3.4 million deaths annually attributed to outdoor air pollution, this lack of awareness is concerning. To better understand the linkages between air quality and human heath, a group of the world’s leading scientists convened by theEnvironmental Performance Index at Yale University came together to review the latest science on air pollution and explore how the next generation of air quality indicators can be made more useful for policy purposes.