Lower Levels Of Air Pollution Saved Lives In New York

In a Columbia University State of the Planet blog, Maie Denoia Aronsohn writes that air pollution cuts in the state of New York saved an estimated 5,660 lives in 2012.

A study led by Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Observatory atmospheric chemistry research group analyzed New York levels of pollution known as PM2.5. This type of pollution can come from burning fuel or from other atmospheric chemical reactions from power plants or automobiles. Exposure to PM2.5 over time can lead to heart and lung issues.

Between 2002 and 2012, PM2.5 levels fell from 28 to 37 percent. The drop brought air pollution mortality down by 67%. In 2002, there were 8,410 premature deaths. In 2012, that number fell to 2,750.

“What’s novel about this study is that we use seven different PM2.5 exposure estimates to analyze the long-term change in mortality burden, and they all show a consistent decrease in mortality burden,” said Xiaomeng Jin, the researcher who led the study.

Specifically, the study looked at four illnesses, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, ischemic heart disease, lung cancer, and cerebrovascular and ischemic stroke.

The study found that emissions controls improved public health statewide.

Read the full story here.

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