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This map depicts the worst areas in the United States for potentially cancer-causing air pollution.

Every year, air pollution kills 4.2 million people around the world. Now, the ProPublica team has created an incredibly detailed map that shows the worst areas in the United States for toxic, cancer-causing air pollution.



The map is based on data from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ProPublica examined the data and its limitations and discovered that approximately 250,000 people in the United States live close to more than 1,000 toxic hotspots. They believe these people were exposed to pollutants in the air, which could lead to an increase in cancer rates.

The agency has long collected the information on which the analysis is based. Thousands of facilities nationwide that are considered large sources of toxic air pollution submit a report to the government each year on their chemical emissions.

However, the agency has never made this data available in a way that allows the public to understand the risks of breathing the air where they live. They calculated and mapped the estimated excess cancer risk from industrial sources across the entire country using reports submitted between 2014 and 2018.

The EPA considers a cancer risk of 1 in 10,000 acceptable. That means that for every 10,000 people living in that area, one more case of cancer will be diagnosed after a lifetime of exposure. The map created by ProPublica highlighted areas where the cancer risk is greater than one in 100,000, which is ten times lower than the EPA's threshold.

The complete map can be found here if you want to look up your location.

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