Clean Power Plan

Study: Any air pollution may hasten death

Analysis found no sign of ‘safe’ ozone, particulate levels

Harvard researchers studied Medicare data from 2000 to 2017. Salt Lake City sits shrouded in haze during an inversion. (Jeffrey D. Allred/The Deseret News )

BALTIMORE, MD — “At a time when the Trump administration is moving to delay and dismantle air quality regulations, a new study suggests that air pollution continues to cut Americans’ lives short, even at levels well below the legal limits set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The nationwide study of more than 60 million senior citizens linked long-term exposure to two main smog pollutants — ozone and fine particulate matter — to an increased risk of premature death.

The analysis found no sign of a ‘safe’ level of pollution, below which the risk of dying early tapered off.

Harvard University scientists, who conducted the study, calculated that reducing fine particle pollution by 1 microgram per cubic meter nationwide would save about 12,000 lives each year. An additional 1,900 lives would be saved annually by lowering ozone pollution by 1 part per billion, they found.

The study appears in Thursday’s edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.”

— Tony Barboza, Los Angeles Times

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