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Air pollution in Utah may contribute to school absences

Health problems are a known contributor to absenteeism, and Wasatch Front students miss class at soaring rates when pollution levels are at their highest.

That’s according to an analysis of attendance records by The Salt Lake Tribune in collaboration with Brigham Young University economist Arden Pope, one of the world’s leading pollution scientists.

The Tribune obtained daily counts of school absences in 2012 and 2013 at four school districts — Salt Lake, Provo and Alpine, where residents endure winter bouts of unhealthy air, and Park City, which rests above the valley haze.

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