Air pollution and the climate crisis are inherently connected

There are lots of examples of how small amounts of neurotoxic chemicals can do extensive — but subtle — harm. A huge one is air pollution. 

  • Air pollution can disrupt brain development in utero.  
  • Certain kinds of air pollution are strongly associated with premature birth and low-birth weight, which in turn are linked to childhood respiratory, GI, and neurologic problems. 
  • As adults, these kids have a greater chance of both physical and mental health issues and a higher risk of premature death.

The extraction and burning of fossil fuels – the main source of carbon dioxide emissions – causes climate change and is a major source of air pollutants.  

Learn how you can take action with us below.

baby outside

Exposure to chemicals that harm children’s brain development is a health, climate, and justice issue.

People of color are 1.5 times more likely to live in areas with poor air quality than white people. In the US, 72 million people of color live in counties that received a failing grade for ozone and/or particle pollution from the American Lung Association.  

Air pollution and climate change are closely related, and cities have jurisdiction to reduce air pollution, creating a win-win for both climate and the neurological health of residents.

A second area where cities have jurisdiction around neurotoxic exposures and climate mitigation is through purchasing decisions. Environmentally preferable purchasing supports toxics elimination, more recycled content, and community GHG goals.

This model helps to build a more circular economy. And, a circular economy is a key strategy to tackle climate change and support a just transition to a low carbon economy. Circularity doesn’t work if toxics are not eliminated from recycling streams.

2. Drive Action in Your City 

At the municipal level, there are two clear opportunities to score a win-win for climate and neurological health — by reducing air toxics and driving environmentally preferable purchasing

How can my city reduce air toxics...

How can my city drive environmentally preferable purchasing? Get started like Bright City Duluth MN

3. Join ecoAmerica’s Climate for Health Leadership Circle

You are invited to nominate like-minded local, state, and regional health leaders in the Climate for Health Leadership Circle. Nominate yourself or a colleague to join this community of practice. 

4. Meet our Partners 

Our Climate Ambassadors training is a project with the “Climate for Health” program at EcoAmerica. Climate for Health is a national network of health leaders committed to protecting the health and well-being of Americans in a changing climate.


Madison Combines Lead and Mold Abatement with Energy Efficiency Programs 

With funding support from Healthy Babies Bright Futures and the Mayors Innovation Project, the Madison team took their Energy Efficiency Navigator program one giant step forward by incorporating lead and mold abatement.

Lead Remediation: Cities Asked, We Answered 

This spring, 50% of the grant applications received were designed to address lead remediation. Funding was not available for all these worthy projects, but the need and interest were clear.

Partnering for a Virtual Climate & Toxics Training to Equip City Leaders

Register today for our free, virtual, self-paced, four hour training to help you crystalize your understanding of the connection between climate and the neurological health of the people in your communities.