As climate change and pollution continue to worsen throughout the globe, the impacts that they have on the health of all individuals are ever evolving and changing. With the advances in modern medicine and technology, the average lifespan of persons living on the Earth has increased from only the 30s in the middle ages to 78.7 currently in the United States. However, this most recent number marks the second year in a row that life expectancy has dropped in America. This drop is due to various factors, such as the increase in deaths due to substance abuse, but it is also attributed to a rise in the levels of air pollution in the country. Across the world, life expectancy is dropping by a couple of months to 2 years as a result of air pollution. The Journal of Environmental Science & Technology Letters estimates that if all countries met the World Health Organization Air Quality Guideline, then the median population-weighted life expectancy would increase by 0.6 years.
Air pollution is not the only environmental hazard that impacts the health of individuals. The Healthy People 2020 Environmental Health initiative created by the United States Department of Health and Human Services highlights 6 themes that are key components of environmental health. These themes are outdoor air quality, surface and ground water quality, toxic substances and hazardous wastes, homes and communities, infrastructure and surveillance, and global environmental health. By focusing on these specific themes, the Healthy People project strives to create ideal environments for communities across the world.