Scientists have long been saying that bad air quality costs lives. They also believe that regulating air pollution could improve the overall health of the population.
Two air pollutants, ozone and a fine particle called PM2.5 are the culprits behind the worsening air quality. Reducing their levels could save thousands every year, by a reduction in pollution-related diseases and a reduction of days missed at school and work. This information has been found to be accurate by the American Thoracic Society and the Marron Institute of Urban Management at New York University.
The two entities made a study on the estimated morbidity and mortality caused by air pollution. It was published online in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society. Experts found that there are many benefits of meeting the most exclusive air quality standards for O3 and PM2.5
As the southern part of California keeps struggling with smog, the study reminds everyone why air quality is important.
Experts believe that hundreds lose their lives every year because of the bad air quality in Southern California. The levels of pollutions are exceeded beyond safe levels on a regular basis.
In the Los Angeles area, around 1,341 people die each year from causes linked to bad air quality. The San Bernadino-Ontario area ranks second, with around 808 people who die yearly because of low air quality.
At a national level, the deaths were as many as 9,320 annually, which compares to the number of deaths resulted from drunk driving, for the same period.
The lead author of the study, professor Kevin Cromer, from the NYU Institute, believes that the study will raise awareness about the diminishing quality of the air and help health officials and citizens make better decisions.
The number of deaths and sicknesses caused by air pollution was estimated by using computer models that took into account many studies showing the health effects of air pollution on the human body.
The estimate above is rather conservative, as scientists did not take into account deaths from cancers, which take many years to develop or deaths from the aggravation of other chronical diseases, such as asthma or diabetes.
The people most at risk of dying from air pollution are those who smoke and people with chronic diseases like bronchitis or asthma.
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