US Pollutants & Health Risk Analysis

Making Insights Accessible

Picture Credit: Photo by NASA on Unsplash


In 2010, 1 in 35 deaths in the U.S. were attributed to illness caused by air pollution. Since 1990, air pollution has been identified by standard bearer agencies in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a real health issue to be understood and addressed. The EPA compiles an exhaustive list of pollutant emissions throughout the United States every three years in the National Emissions Inventory Report (NEI). This NEI data collected from 2014 has been made available to civilians in publicly hosted access tables and a summary report, but the mode of dessemination lacks visibility and usability for the average American.

We want this to change.



  • The Environmental Protection Agency has a decades long project to assess risks associated with air pollutants that are emitted across the U.S. The EPA then reports this in the National Emissions Inventory Report.
  • This NEI assessment includes indications of long term effects of pollutants on individuals’ health.
  • Prior to 2000, data was only available to regulators and policy makers. Now it is available publicly but not easily accessible.
  • Lindsey et al developed prototype solution combining data for one year and making accessible via API. We've build our project on top of data generated from their work.

Risks and Pollutants

  • Our visualization utilizes a numerical assessment of the user selected risk. This value is taken directly from the NEI report, and EPA defines this value as "The likelihood that a given exposure or series of exposures [to a pollutant] may have damaged or will damage the health of individuals". Further information on this risk assessment variable can be found here.
  • The various pollutants contributing to each risk index can be found in the bar chart to the right of the US map. These pollutants have been identified by the EPA as being known to cause cancer or other serious health risks. For more information about these pollutants see here or here.

Health Risk and Pollutant Analysis



We hope that our project increases the American populace's awareness of the dangers of air pollution in their home, their neighborhood and throughout the rest of the country. It's become increasingly apparent that there are not a couple of pollutants that are contributing to our decreasing air quality, but hundreds, and it's up to us to stop it.


  • General Public
  • Researchers
  • Regulators
  • Policy Makers