Researchers have found that high levels of air pollution are forcing people to consume more electricity, subsequently causing even greater environmental problems by increasing greenhouse gas emissions.
The study, published in the journal Nature Energy, has shown that the effects are seen more in lower-income families and those from ethnic minority backgrounds.
“The results should encourage decision makers to think about how policy can prevent inequality from widening in terms of both health risks and financial hardships,” said the study authors from Cardiff University in the UK.
For the findings, the research team examined the energy consumption of over 4,000 residential buildings and 17,000 commercial buildings in the city of Phoenix, Arizona between 2013 and 2018.
The Phoenix metropolitan area has the highest air pollution levels in the US, with pollution being generated from both natural sources, such as dust storms, and human activities such as energy generation and transport.