NPR

Growing Corn Is A Major Contributor To Air Pollution, Study Finds

A study ties an estimated 4,300 premature deaths a year to the air pollution caused by corn production in the U.S. In some regions, the per-bushel health costs exceed the corn's market price.
An aerial view of a combine harvesting corn in a field near Jarrettsville, Md. A new study ties an estimated 4,300 premature deaths a year to the air pollution caused by corn production in the U.S. Source: Edwin Remsburg/Getty Images

You've probably heard statistics about how our diet affects the health of the planet. Like how a beef hamburger takes considerably more water and land to produce than a veggie burger, or that around a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions stem from food production. In fact, there are websites that can calculate the carbon footprint of specific foods.

But you may not have considered how the food we eat contributes to the quality of air we breath.

Air pollution is the largest environmental health risk factor in the United States, and

agriculture contributes in a number of ways. Fertilizer application, gas use, pesticide

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