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A typical adult takes around 20,000 breaths per day. If you live in a megacity like Beijing, with many of those lungfuls you're likely to inhale a noxious mixture of chemicals and pollutants.

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Scientists have connected air pollution with a host of health issues — such as cancer, lung and heart diseases — that the World Health Organization says leads to more than 7 million premature deaths each year. But toxic air may also be driving a different type of public health issue: violent crime.

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Indonesian firefighters battle a forest fire, one of many spewing toxic haze across the region causing an increase in reports of respiratory illnesses, in Kampar, Riau on Sept. 23. WAHYUDI / AFP / Getty Images

By Sakinah Ummu Haniy, Hidayah Hamzah and Mirzha Hanifah

Indonesia's forest fires have made headlines globally over the past few weeks. This year's forest fires have affected millions of people. Schools have closed in some areas due to unsafe levels of air pollution, while many people are suffering from respiratory illnesses. The haze has spread so far as to affect Singapore and Malaysia.

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A child plays under the heavy smoke of factories in Dilovasi, Turkey on Nov. 7, 2006. BULENT KILIC / AFP / Getty Images

A Turkish food engineer, columnist and human rights advocate was sentenced to 15 months in prison last week for publishing an environmental paper that linked pollution to a high incidence of cancer in Western Turkey, according to Science Magazine.

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EPA offices in DC. Skyhobo / E+ / Getty Images

A group of 20 scientists charged with reviewing the nation's air quality standards plans to convene and to issue a report on the country's air pollution regulations, even though the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) disbanded their panel.

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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Climate change is making air pollution worse and is exacerbating smog-related health risks such as heart and lung diseases, pregnancy complications and development issues. Now, a study by the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center has identified another health risk associated with rising air pollution: childhood psychiatric issues.

According to the study, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, short-term spikes in ambient air pollution are linked with an increase in hospital visits for childhood psychiatric issues. Also, children in low-income neighborhoods with poor access to healthcare appeared to be more susceptible to the mental health effects of air pollution.

CNN reported that while previous research has shown an association between particulate matter pollution in the air and adult mental health issues, this is the first time researchers have looked into its effect on children.

During the five-year study, researchers focused on a very small type of particulate matter called PM 2.5 — fossil fuel-powered vehicles and power plants, cooking, dust and brush fires are all sources — can be easily inhaled and end up in organs and the bloodstream, causing inflammation in the lungs or brain, and, in the long term, may trigger cancer and heart attacks.

The researchers looked at more than 13,000 visits by children to Cincinnati Children's emergency psychiatric unit and compared it with data on the concentrations of PM 2.5 where they live. Results showed that spikes in PM 2.5 concentration were associated with increased childhood psychiatric visits one or two days later for adjustment disorder, anxiety and suicidal thoughts, while same-day visits were usually related to schizophrenia.

All daily exposures to PM 2.5 in the study were below levels set in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's National Ambient Air Quality Standards, researchers said.

These spikes in air pollution increased the risk of hospitalization for suicidal thoughts by 44 percent overall, the Daily Mail reported, but the risk for children from disadvantaged areas was almost double that. These children were also 39 percent more likely to need treatment for anxiety.

The researchers noted that the study was observational and more research would be needed to rule out other causes, Newsweek reported.

"More research is needed to confirm these findings, but it could lead to new prevention strategies for children experiencing symptoms related to a psychiatric disorder," lead author Cole Brokamp said in a press release. "The fact that children living in high poverty neighborhoods experienced greater health effects of air pollution could mean that pollutant and neighborhood stressors can have synergistic effects on psychiatric symptom severity and frequency."

While this study only looked at PM 2.5, it builds on other recent research by Cincinnati Children's demonstrating that exposure to air pollution in general during childhood may contribute to a host of mental health issues at an early age.

In May, researchers at the Cincinnati Children's published a study in Environmental Research showing a link between increased exposure to high traffic related air pollution (TRAP) and generalized anxiety. Another study published in June found that exposure to TRAP shortly in early childhood was linked with symptoms of anxiety and depression in 12-year-olds.

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The Bixby Bridge and Pacific Coast Highway 1 in California. LeoPatrizi / iStock / Getty Images Plus

The Trump administration is escalating its war on California by claiming the state is "failing" to protect its environment.

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Mike Pence brought the first motorcade to Mackinac Island on Saturday. Cars have been banned on the island since 1898. 13 ON YOUR SIDE / YouTube screenshot

Vice President Mike Pence sparked outrage on social media Saturday when he traveled in the first-ever motorcade to drive down the streets of Michigan's car-free Mackinac Island, HuffPost reported.

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British Airways 757. Jon Osborne / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

By Adam Vaughan

Two-thirds of people in the UK think the amount people fly should be reined in to tackle climate change, polling has found.

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A pregnant woman works out in front of the skyline of London. SHansche / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Air pollution particles that a pregnant woman inhales have the potential to travel through the lungs and breach the fetal side of the placenta, indicating that unborn babies are exposed to black carbon from motor vehicles and fuel burning, according to a study published in the journal Nature Communications.

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Well Blowout

By Julie Dermansky

A fracked natural gas well in northwest Louisiana has been burning for two weeks after suffering a blowout. A state official said the fire will likely burn for the next month before the flames can be brought under control by drilling a relief well.

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