Even though air pollution is a global problem, it is rarely mentioned in the United States where air quality deteriorates significantly. Although the content of hazardous airborne particles meets federal standards in most states in the United States, air pollution kills around 30,000 people each year. This is the result of a study conducted by scientists at Imperial College London and the Center for Air, Climate and Energy Solutions (CACES) at Carnegie Mellon University, published in PLOS Medicine Tuesday.

“I think the big conclusion is that lowering the limits of air pollution could delay in the U.S., all together, tens of thousands of deaths each year,” study lead author and Imperial College London Prof. Majid Ezzati

Significant impact on health and life expectancy

The particle level was set by The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and its current value is 12 micrograms per cubic meter of air (μg/m3). The research focused on the obtained values from 1999-2015, and according to calculations, tens of thousands of people died due to air pollution in the year 2015 when the level of particles dropped between 2.8 µg/m3 and 13.2 µg/m3. In 2015, airborne particle level can be associated with 15,612 deaths in women and 14,757 deaths in men, all due to lung or heart damage. Ultimately, life expectancy decreased by 0.15 years for women and 0.13 years for men.

“These findings are particularly relevant at a time when the EPA is planning to change how it calculates the benefits of cleaner air by dismissing any health benefits below the current standard. These benefits are important to consider when evaluating efforts to tackle climate change, such as the Clean Power Plan,” said Allen Robinson, CACES Director

An interesting piece of information is that the most significant drop in life expectancy, due to air pollution, has been observed in Los Angeles and southern states like Arkansas, Oklahoma and Alabama, as well as in counties with lower incomes and lower level of education.

Source: edition.cnn.com/2019/07/23/health/air-pollution-us-deaths-study/index.html, ecowatch.com/air-pollution-us-deaths-one-year-2639328173.html, imperial.ac.uk, engineering.cmu.edu/caces/index.html

Credits: pixnio.com, en.wikipedia.org