56 votes
Accepted

Do 1.4 million Chinese people die each year because of air pollution?

The following is accurate according to a scientific report published in Nature: Nature 525, 367–371 (17 September 2015) The contribution of outdoor air pollution sources to premature mortality on a ...
user avatar
  • 29.8k
50 votes

Did "fossil-fuel pollution [kill] three times as many people as COVID-19 did" in 2020?

The smoke and smog from those engines and appliances directly kill nine million people a year I’ll address the “nine million people a year” estimate. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates ...
user avatar
  • 2,014
37 votes

Are chemicals in plastic causing a significant reduction in fertility?

Western world Indeed, according to the Independent there is a crisis regarding fertility rates. But rather interestingly the same trend has not been observed in other parts of the world such as South ...
user avatar
36 votes
Accepted

Can tortoises become deformed by growing up inside rings of plastic?

There are at least two documented cases where turtles were found with constricting plastic rings around their midsection. One with a six-pack ring, another with a milk bottle safety seal ring: ...
user avatar
  • 1,460
30 votes

Can tortoises become deformed by growing up inside rings of plastic?

There has been discussion on the Snopes forums regarding the second image. In the link, they discussed the case of Peanut the tortoise, which appears to be the same tortoise depicted in the first link....
user avatar
  • 18.6k
30 votes
Accepted

Did "fossil-fuel pollution [kill] three times as many people as COVID-19 did" in 2020?

The claim's specificity is probably not rock-solid, but the idea that fossil fuels kill huge numbers of people annually is sound. I'm assuming McKibben was relying on this study from Harvard ...
user avatar
25 votes
Accepted

Does clean air transmit significantly more UV?

Yes. Based on [Relationship between surface UV radiation and air pollution in Beijing] from 2008 by An JL1, Wang YS, Li X, Sun Y, Shen SH. This study also shows that a substantial reduction (up ...
user avatar
24 votes

Did "fossil-fuel pollution [kill] three times as many people as COVID-19 did" in 2020?

The smoke and smog from those engines and appliances directly kill nine million people a year In 2020, fossil-fuel pollution killed three times as many people as COVID-19 did. The Dan Romik's answer ...
user avatar
  • 682
22 votes
Accepted

Is standing near Lake Karachay for an hour fatal?

ONE HOUR ANYWHERE NEAR IT AND YOU'RE DEAD This claim is probably too broad and the information is outdated, but the general idea is correct. A quick search revealed a few relevant details: From ...
user avatar
  • 5,506
21 votes
Accepted

Do Jet Skis produce in an hour equivalent pollution to 100,000km of a new/small car?

Driving a jet ski for one hour will produce the equivalent amount of pollution as driving a new car 100,000 km. This claim seems to be INCORRECT. First, the claim appears to be credited to Stienstra ...
user avatar
  • 29.8k
19 votes
Accepted

Are drinking straws a minor source of ocean plastic pollution?

Yes. Drinking straws are a relatively minor source of oceanic plastic pollution. That is in perspective: Plastic drinking straws are a big problem in itself. But in comparison that problem is still a ...
user avatar
  • 43.5k
19 votes
Accepted

Do trees soak up pollution?

According to the US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service publication THE EFFECTS OF URBAN TREES ON AIR QUALITY Trees remove gaseous air pollution primarily by uptake via leaf stomata, though ...
user avatar
  • 99.2k
16 votes
Accepted

Can the oxygen levels in a polluted city be as low as 11%?

No, this is not possible. The health effects of such a low oxygen level would have caused mass exhaustion, headaches, symptoms such as bluing of the lips, and probably collapse among weaker citizens (...
user avatar
  • 2,473
14 votes

Do 1.4 million Chinese people die each year because of air pollution?

If we assume the Chinese to be average in dying due to air pollution, we can use global WHO estimates to assess how realistic this claim is. WHO: 7 million premature deaths annually linked to air ...
user avatar
  • 17.5k
14 votes
Accepted

Does breathing Beijing's air for one hour reduce life expectancy by 20 minutes?

This claim is difficult to evaluate in part because there are too many different variables at play. Fundamentally the reporter is quoting a statement by Richard Muller, Scientific Director of Berkeley ...
user avatar
  • 16.8k
14 votes
Accepted

Is burning 1ha of grassland more environmentally damaging than 6000 cars?

The African grass species Pennisetum purpureum was measured to produce 40 tons of dry biomass per hectare per year, of which about 44% is purely carbon. Does releasing the CO2 of 18 tons of carbon ...
user avatar
14 votes

Is the European NO₂ limit of 40 µg/m³ for outside air backed by strong evidence?

Summary The question as asked in the title depends on what you consider "strong evidence". I will therefore have a look at which side makes the better-sourced point. (Which is not just about "...
user avatar
  • 18.9k
14 votes
Accepted

Does one cup of coffee pollute as much as a 10km car drive?

If by "pollution" you mean carbon dioxide release: The Eco Guide discusses the amount of CO2 generated by coffee from growth through shipping to processing and the machines in the cafe where ...
user avatar
  • 5,917
11 votes

Are chemicals in plastic causing a significant reduction in fertility?

Are chemicals in plastic causing a fertility crisis? I will be more assertive: SOME chemicals in plastics, or plastic coating, have proven effects on hormones and fertility. For example bisphenol A, (...
user avatar
  • 210
10 votes

Does lowering speed limits by 10 km/h have any impact on air pollution?

Generally, every car has a specific speed where fuel efficiency (i.e. miles traveled per gallon) is highest. This is mostly around 40 - 60mph (~65 - 95 km/h). Above and below this speed fuel ...
user avatar
  • 1,975
10 votes
Accepted

Is Bhutan the only carbon neutral/negative country?

Is Bhutan carbon neutral? According to "Sustainability in an Emerging Nation: The Bhutan Case Study" published in Sustainability, Bhutan is indeed carbon neutral. The paper makes the following ...
user avatar
9 votes

Is standing near Lake Karachay for an hour fatal?

It was true in 1990 (narrowly true, not true "everywhere"). On page 10 of this PDF (which has "page 519" printed in the header of the page), which is on the Natural Resources Defense Council web site,...
user avatar
  • 26.3k
9 votes

Is burning 1ha of grassland more environmentally damaging than 6000 cars?

This answer skims the line on how much calculation is allowed and will only talk about CO2 re: your guess that the claim relates to the amount of CO2 released by 6000 cars in one year. According to ...
user avatar
  • 9,406
8 votes

Are drinking straws a minor source of ocean plastic pollution?

According to Garbage Land: On the Secret Trail of Trash : In 2002, International Coastal Cleanup volunteers in 117 countries collected 1.8 million cigarette butts and cigar tips, representing 31 ...
user avatar
  • 99.2k
8 votes

Has the claim that there's a causal relationship between poor air quality and death been debunked?

This is effectively a partial answer. It does not seek to respond to the overarching question of whether or not there is a causal relationship between poor air quality and death. I'm not currently ...
user avatar
  • 3,655
8 votes

Is (or was) the air pollution in Beijing worse than "what the first responders at ground zero on 9/11 were breathing"?

Surprisingly, this is pretty easy to resolve: 9/11 First Responders Face A High Cancer Risk But Are Also More Likely To Survive At first it was "pitch black," Cascio recalls. "We ...
user avatar
7 votes

Does lowering speed limits by 10 km/h have any impact on air pollution?

First, as far as I remember, there is a major factual mistake (possibly a mistranslation) in the article you quote. What happened is that speeds were reduced by 20 km/h in non-urban areas. I do not ...
user avatar
7 votes

"In some cities, it's more dangerous to breathe than to smoke cigarettes."

I was considering the same question when I lived in Shanghai (a very polluted city indeed) and was told that many industrial cities in the north east of China was many times worse. While smokers may ...
user avatar
7 votes

Have few, if any, studies on the health effects of particulate air pollution measured the actual exposure to particulates?

If anything, some studies suggest that the present measurement methods underestimate the effects: A reanalysis of the data by Willis et al, restricted to people who live closer to the monitor, ...
user avatar
  • 51k
6 votes

Does the DuPont/Denka plant in Lousiana emit 250,000 pounds of chloroprene annually?

With the understanding that correlation does not equal causation, the EPA's study of air toxicity (search for St. John the Baptist Parish, LA) indicates that the levels of chloroprene adjacent to the ...
user avatar
  • 2,969

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible