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Table 1 Statement rankings including subgroup analysis of members and caretakers of vulnerable populations

From: Fossil fuels are harming our brains: identifying key messages about the health effects of air pollution from fossil fuels

Statement text Total (n = 1644) Older adult (n = 396) Low income (n = 334) Mother of Young Children (n = 465) Expectant Mother (n = 150) Childcare Provider (n = 201) Healthcare Professional (n = 288)
Air pollution and toxic chemicals released when fossil fuels are burned can cause delays in development, reduced IQ, attention deficits, learning difficulties, behavioral problems, and autism in babies and children, even when the exposure occurs before birth 1 2 1 1 1 1 1
Air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels is causing permanent damage to the brains of many young children and older adults in America, robbing children of their full mental potential, and older adults of their mental abilities late in life. 2 1 2 2 2 2 2
New research shows that air pollution and the toxic chemicals from burning fossil fuels harms the brains of children – including babies before birth – making it more difficult for them to learn and thrive. 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
Toxic chemicals – like lead, arsenic, and mercury – that are released when coal, oil, and natural gas are burned to make energy can cause serious harm to people’s brains and mental abilities. 4 4 6 5 5 5 4
The harmful effects of air pollution from burning fossil fuels are worst for babies before and after birth, young children, the elderly, and people living or working closest to power plants and congested highways. 5 5 4 4 4 4 7
Millions of Americans suffer health problems like asthma, cancer and heart disease because of air pollution and toxic chemicals from burning fossil fuels to make energy. 6 6 5 6 7 7 6
The air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels contains tiny particles that carry toxic chemicals deep inside people’s bodies, harming their lungs, hearts and brains. 7 7 7 7 6 6 5
New research shows that the air pollution and toxic chemicals from burning fossil fuels can be especially harmful to older adults, contributing to dementia and possibly Alzheimer’s Disease. 8 8 9 10 10 8 8
Burning fossil fuels creates air pollution and releases toxic chemicals that contribute to serious – sometimes life-long – health problems for many Americans. 9 9 10 8 8 10 9
Americans living in poverty are especially at risk from air pollution and toxic chemicals that are released when fossil fuels are burned, because they often live or work close to power plants and congested highways. 10 10 8 9 9 9 10
  1. Note: Older adult = age 55 or older; Low income = Household income less than $25,000; Mother of young children = mother with at least one child age 5 or younger