Studies Show Clean Air Is Good for Your Health and the Economy

A comprehensive article by ENSIA, an independent nonprofit environmentally-focused magazine, illuminates some studies that prove clean air isn’t only beneficial for the environment, but also for our health. These studies focus on workers’ productivity based on their air quality and how this might affect companies’ bottom line.

One of these studies, a 2012 study in California by Columbia University professors, focused on workers’ productivity on grape and blueberry farms. Their study found that “when ozone exposure decreased by 10 parts per billion…the workers were 5.5 percent more productive.” Those same professors followed up their findings with another study focusing on particulate matter levels in the air. They found that when levels of fine particulate matter surpassed the EPA standard, workers’ earning decreased by $1.88 per hour.

While these observations were done in the United States, international observations mirror them. According to the article, “workers at two call centres in China were about 5 percent more productive when the outdoor air quality was what the EPA would rate as ‘good’ than when it would have been rated ‘unhealthy.’ ” International studies were also able to link air pollution to absences from school and “slower cognitive development in school.” These results showcase that “exposure to air pollution, not just through the workplace but through other channels, such as during early childhood…could have lasting long-term consequences on the labor market productivity” of today and tomorrow.

These studies exemplify how businesses may benefit directly from cleaner air in the form of increased productivity of their employees. They also can benefit long-term from “a healthier, more educated and more productive labor force in the future.” It’s more important than ever to invest in technology that can benefit air quality and provide a cleaner working and living environment for all.