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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Minnesota: Air Pollution Linked to Increases in Violent Criminal Behavior

New research from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health and Colorado State University shows that breathing dirty air likely causes people to become more aggressive and violent. Their findings were published in the journal Epidemiology.

The researchers examined the association between daily violent and non-violent crimes and short-term increases in air pollution across 301 counties in 34 states across a 14-year period. 

The study found:

“While our study cannot identify the exact processes that link air pollution and violent behavior,” said study lead author and assistant professor Dr. Jesse Berman. “We believe that exposure to air pollution has immediate effects on the brain, which results in behavioral changes.”

“Our findings have important implications for public health practitioners and policy makers,” said Dr. Berman. “If we know that an area is going to have increased air pollution, it might make violent behavior more likely. This information can be relayed to police officers and other first responders so they can prepare. Likewise, if increased violent crimes result in injuries, hospitals and paramedics could be advised as well.”

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