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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 ...
Dan Romik's user avatar
  • 5,354
36 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 ...
John Strachan's user avatar
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 ...
William Walker III's user avatar
24 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 ...
SZCZERZO KŁY's 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 ...
User65535's user avatar
  • 730
20 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 ...
LangLаngС's user avatar
  • 44.1k
15 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 (...
Jack Aidley's user avatar
  • 2,561
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 ...
elliot svensson's 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 "...
DevSolar's user avatar
  • 19k
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 ...
Weather Vane's user avatar
  • 7,670
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, (...
JB.'s user avatar
  • 210
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 ...
Barry Harrison's user avatar
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 ...
redleo85's user avatar
  • 1,960
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 ...
Murphy's user avatar
  • 9,492
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 ...
Ben Barden's user avatar
  • 3,677
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 ...
DavePhD's user avatar
  • 107k
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 ...
Loren Pechtel's 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, ...
against very long user names's 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 ...
kongharald's 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 ...
Gilles 'SO- stop being evil''s user avatar
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 ...
jdunlop's user avatar
  • 2,948
6 votes

Are chemicals in plastic causing a significant reduction in fertility?

There are two quite typical problems with the claim: It's impossible to strictly prove a negative (as in "X has no impact on health"). It's only ever possible to evaluate a specific ...
Dmitry Grigoryev's user avatar
5 votes
Accepted

Is Google causing 40% of the CO2 emission of all internet traffic?

In answer to the title of the question (see the addendum to this answer for details) No, Google does not cause 40% of the CO2 emissions of all Internet Traffic. There's a case that can be made, ...
jdunlop's user avatar
  • 2,948
5 votes
Accepted

Does a coal plant "kill more in a few weeks than nuclear has ever killed"?

The claim as made in the original quote is fairly easy to debunk with sources from the comments because it compares deaths due to all nuclear power over all time with deaths of a single coal power ...
quarague's user avatar
  • 1,789
4 votes

Is the Taylor oil spill on the scale of Deepwater Horizon?

So, according to the Washington Post version of the story (also behind a pay wall), it's not clear exactly how large the spill is. However, recent analysis has shown that the Coast Guard National ...
pboss3010's user avatar
  • 141
4 votes

Does each car in inner London cost society £8,000 in health and environmental cost over its lifetime?

TL;DR Yes, though only within a narrowly defined meaning: a petrol car driven only within Inner London, that drives an average distance for UK cars over its lifetime, will on average cause - through ...
410 gone's user avatar
  • 4,701
4 votes
Accepted

Are Silvester (New Year's Eve) fireworks as pollutive as cars in one year?

The claim isn't about pollution in general, but about "Feinstaub" - which can likely be translated as particulate matter - more specifically "PM10" (particulate matter with a diameter less than 10 μm):...
tim's user avatar
  • 52k
4 votes
Accepted

Do Ultra-dense H11-grade HEPA filters remove up to 99% of PM0.3 particles?

From the 2005 Deparment of Energy standard on HEPA Filters: 5.2 Performance Requirements: Mandatory performance requirements for HEPA filters are set out below. These performance requirements ...
TsSkTo's user avatar
  • 250
4 votes

To what extent do needle trees contribute to fine dust pollution?

In coniferous regions, it is possible for conifers to be a major source of particulate emissions. A good study is Characterization of a large biogenic secondary organic aerosol event from eastern ...
DavePhD's user avatar
  • 107k
4 votes

Does decreasing an urban speed limit from 50 km/h to 30 km/h increase air pollution?

It depends, but not in general I found a report to the German Bundestag, which references several studies. I would summarize the results as follows: 1.) particulate matter from the Motor exhaust ...
kutschkem's user avatar
  • 1,143

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