Harvard Researchers Brief Committee Members On COVID-19, Air Pollution Study

Apr 20, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON (April 20, 2020) - Last Friday, the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis held a virtual member briefing on the risks posed by air pollution during the coronavirus pandemic. Members were joined by the team of researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health who recently published a national study finding a link between higher rates of air pollution and increased rates of COVID-19 mortality.

The study, titled ‘Exposure to air pollution and COVID-19 mortality in the United States’, found that higher levels of fine particulate air pollution, or particulate matter (PM2.5), were associated with higher coronavirus death rates, according to data from 3,080 counties across the United States. Most fine particulate air pollution comes from fuel combustion generated by automobiles, coal plants and oil refineries.

“COVID-19 is shining a light on health disparities and the harsh impact of polluted air on American families. In concert with scientists, we will focus on solutions that ensure a just recovery for American families,” said Chair Kathy Castor. “That’s why I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn from the public health experts who can help us understand the complex impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. I’d like to thank Dr. Dominici and her team of experts for giving us further insight into their important work, which further highlights the need to strengthen clean air safeguards and ensure environmental justice for all Americans.”

The briefing was led by senior study author Francesca Dominici, Ph.D., who fielded questions from a bipartisan group of members and shared further details on her team's research. Lead study authors Xiao Wu and Rachel Nethery also joined the briefing.


116th Congress