Farming releases small particles of pollution into the air. This lowers the quality of the surrounding air and has serious impacts on human health. In fact, air pollution caused by farming results in 17,900 deaths in the US every year! We wanted to understand more about which farming processes and foods caused the most pollution. That way we could look for ways to reduce it.
We calculated the total farming-related air pollution released in the US. We broke this data down into different categories for further analysis. We found that animal waste, fertilizer, and tilling caused the vast majority of deaths. Animal-based foods caused nearly four times more deaths than plant-based foods. Finally, we looked at interventions that could decrease air pollution. We found that changes in diet were the most effective. But farming interventions alone could lower deaths considerably.