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How Colorado’s changing climate is putting children’s health at risk


The #ClimateStrike protest in Denver on Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun) This March, Colorado State Sen. Faith Winter stood at a podium in the State Capitol and spoke to a gathered crowd about reducing the state’s air pollution. After introductions, Winter, Gov. Jared Polis and others unveiled a package of environmental bills that aim to increase access to public transit, build more energy efficient buildings, and construct safe walkways and e-bike trails in the Denver area.

“We know that ozone can cause cancer and heart disease and lung disease,” the Westminster Democrat said, noting that in 2021, the Front Range experienced one of its worst summers with regard to air pollution. “My daughter had cross-country practices canceled because her developing lungs couldn’t be out in our air.”

In April, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency moved to declare Colorado’s Front Range as a “severe” air quality violator. More than 70% of Colorado’s 1.3 million children live in counties with unhealthy levels of ozone, a colorless and highly irritating gas that forms just above the Earth’s surface, according to a profile on Colorado children’s health by the nonprofit Children’s Environmental Health Network.

Counties with “unhealthy” ozone pollution were those that […]

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