The Phoenix summer heat is dangerous. The air pollution is making it worse

By Steve Goldstein
Published: Thursday, July 14, 2022 - 12:27pm

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Phoenix pollution
Paul Atkinson/KJZZ
Air quality is likely playing a role on which communities are hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic.

The past several days have seen high temperatures in the Valley at or above 110 degrees. And we've recently been given the additional unpleasantness of high pollution advisories on top of the extreme heat.

Taken separately, heat and pollution can be deadly and cause severe health problems. But the combination is even worse.

A recent study by the University of Southern California's (USC) Keck School of Medicine quantifies just how life-threatening heat and air pollution can be in tandem.

To learn about the findings, The Show spoke with USC assistant professor Erika Garcia, who was the senior author of the study.

To get a perspective on the challenges the Valley faces from heat and air pollution, The Show also spoke with Jennifer Vanos, who had also looked at the conclusions of the USC report. She is an assistant professor in Arizona State University's School of Sustainability. The conversation started with Vanos explaining which health problems were most likely to be exacerbated by the heat and air pollution combination.

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