Which is Deadlier: Guns, Cars or Air Pollution?

According to the CDC, Americans are now as likely to die from a car accident as they are of gun violence. In about 21 states, people are actually more likely to die from gunshot wounds than from vehicular accidents. This is a sobering statistic. But even more sobering is the fact that Americans are far more likely to die from air pollution than from an unfortunately placed bullet or car crashes combined. Look at these numbers:

2014 deaths by car: 10.3 per 100,000

2014 deaths by guns: 10.3 per 100,000

2014 deaths by air pollution: 70 – 130 per 100,000  (Baltimore had the highest rate at 130)

The numbers, of course, vary from year to year, but about 30,000 Americans die in car accidents, 30,000 Americans die from guns, and 200,000 + Americans die annually from air pollution.

Let’s put these statistics into real numbers for one state. In a recent year, Utah lost 256 people to car accidents, 260 people to gun violence and about 1300 people from air pollution.

So, where is the outrage when it comes to America’s dirty air?

smoke stacks spewing

The problem is when someone dies from a gunshot wound or car accident, the cause is obvious, not to mention often graphic—but with air pollution, death usually creeps up insidiously and ambiguously… Essentially no one lands in the morgue with a toe tag that says “died of air pollution.” Instead, the cause of death is listed as heart attack, asthma, lung disease, stroke, SIDS or cancer. But the result is the same – lives cut tragically and unnecessarily short.

Equally tragically is that we know air pollution kills, yet we do not do everything we can to clean-up our air.

We let big industrial polluters and trade associations bully us into thinking we must choose between a strong economy and clean air, which is a false choice. In fact, the EPA has shown that for every dollar spent on pollution mitigation and prevention, $30 to $90 of economic benefit is returned to local communities. Just think of the world’s richest nations versus the world’s poorest nations. Who has cleaner air? Clean air and wealth go hand-in-hand.

As long as we accept dirty air and its accompanying mortality, we will have dirty, stinky air. But when we stand up together and say the birthright of every child to breathe clean air trumps the rights of industry to pollute, then we will have clean air.

To get involved with the national clean air movement join Moms Clean Air Force and to see one state, Utah, get serious about cleaning up their air, visit the Utah Moms for Clean Air. Extra-motivated? Start your own grassroots clean air group and help fight for the air we all share.





Siyus Copetallus
Siyus C8 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

Sarah Hill
Sarah H10 months ago

I'm not sure these stats are right. It seems you are much more likely to die in a car crash than by a gun.

Nimue Pendragon

America not Australia so not relevant to me.

Muff-Anne York-Haley

They're all deadly!

Patricia Harris
John Taylor10 months ago

The more articles there are of learning about these issues, the better we'll all learn to take better care of the planet and all that live on it!!

Amy Fain
Amy Fain10 months ago

Too bad the government is more worried about guns then what we are breathing

Sandy F.
Sandy F10 months ago

Having lived near Salt Lake for a couple of years, this does not surprise me in the least! Years ago there was much hellabalu about smog (word was coined back then) in California and emissions testing etc.. was instituted. Then the Californians all moved east to cheaper, cleaner places and now natives of Colorado and other places are dealing with high cost of livings and guess what smog--air pollution, thanks to people who only wish to use and make things as they want rather than adapting to the local ways of life!!!

sandra vito
Sandra V10 months ago


Matt B.
Matt B10 months ago

Part 3 of 3
Addressing Lee's clap trap above a little more directly I would ask him/her about and please let me paraphrase here: "BUT: guns and left-wing deranged gunhuggers are an immediate and personal risk to anyone that the left-wing media takes a grudge against - For example the left wing Obama voter Christopher Dorner who killed 4 people other than himself which thank God he finally did (see a good death stat here!) or here are some others to consider:
– Nidal Hasan – Ft Hood Shooter: Reg­istered Democrat and Muslim.
– Aaron Alexis, Navy Yard shooter – black liberal/Obama voter
– Seung-Hui Cho – Virginia Tech shooter: Wrote hate mail to President Bush and to his staff, registered Democrat.
– James Holmes – the “Dark Knight”/Colorado shooter: Registered Democrat, staff worker on the Obama campaign, #Occu­py guy,progressive liberal, hated Christians.

– Amy Bishop, the rabid leftist, killed her colleagues in Alabama, Obama supporter.

Where Lee is concerned the truth of the matter is simply this if you are not committing crimes or hanging out with those that do you are far more likely to win the big lottery jackpot or be struck by lightning then killed by someone with a firearm in the United States. And in conclusion that if Lee was actually righ

Matt B.
Matt B10 months ago

Response continued see below for start
self-defense or the defense of others, suicide ie the taking of one's own life, and last but not least honest to God accidents.

Gun accidents are at an all time-low and getting fewer every year on average for the past 100+ years despite the increase in population and in the number of guns in circulation. Suicides should not be considered here for anything but suicides. In other words if someone is going to kill themselves then they will and the mechanism they choose is not particularly relevant to anything. If not a gun then something else. Where there is a will there is a way. In terms of justified homicides we are talking about criminals who were attacking others and were either killed by the police or private citizens who were completely justified in doing so. This leaves the last category of unjustified homicides and even those need to be further broken down. Most of the deaths in this category are criminals who kill other criminals which equates to the trash taking itself out. Nothing that a rational person would complain about. So in careful consideration the numbers of real concern the deaths of innocent people murdered by criminals is far less than you are lead to believe in a piece like this, and in any case it is not the fault of a gun. It is the person holding it with either good or ill will that makes the difference.

Addressing Lee's clap trap above a little more directly I would ask him/her about and please let me pa