Small amounts of air pollution linked to more death...

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Small amounts of air pollution linked to more death...

Postby Wilberforce » Wed Dec 27, 2017 6:43 pm

'Safe' levels? Small amounts of air pollution linked to more death for senior citizens: Study

Large Harvard study suggests lax national air pollution standards are killing the elderly before their time

Elderly people have a higher risk of dying after short-term exposure to particulate air pollution and ozone, according to a new study from Harvard.

The levels of pollution linked to premature deaths were below current U.S. health standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency—and the impacts were disproportionately worse for the poor, women and black people.

The study is the "most comprehensive study of short-term exposure to pollution and mortality to date," said senior author of the study, Francesca Dominici, a professor of biostatistics and co-director of the Harvard Data Science Initiative.

"We wanted to know if air pollution at levels well below safety standards set by the EPA is possibly increasing mortality," she said. "The answer is yes."

Dominici and colleagues looked at daily levels of particulate matter 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter (PM 2.5) and ozone across the U.S. They compared the levels with deaths from people on Medicare from 2000 to 2012.

For each 10 microgram per cubic meter daily increase in PM2.5 and each 10 parts per billion daily increase in ozone during warm months, the daily mortality rate increased by 1.05 percent and 0.51 percent, respectively. During the study time, about 22 million people in the Medicare population died.

The risk was the same across the country: "No matter where you live—in cities, in the suburbs, or in rural areas—as long as you breathe air pollution, you are at risk," said lead author Qian Di, a PhD student in Harvard's Department of Environmental Health, in a statement.

For low-income people (measured in the study as those qualifying for Medicaid) deaths linked to PM 2.5 increases were three times higher than those not eligible for Medicaid.

Women and people of color had a 25 percent higher death risk from the pollution than white men.

Dominici said they aren't sure why women would have such a higher risk, but said people of color and those eligible for Medicaid, in general, have a higher risk of mortality and "tend to have less access to health care systems," she said, offering one reason for the disproportionate impact.

Past studies have shown similar links between air pollution and death but used air monitoring by the EPA to estimate exposure levels. Dominici said they used multiple sources to model air pollution—including satellite data. "By doing so we were able to include in our study 93 percent of all zip codes [in the U.S]," she said. "Previous studies were using a much smaller sample."

The research doesn't prove air pollution caused more deaths and it was limited in that the study did not examine links between long-term air pollution exposure and death. The researchers also didn't know cause of death, so they can't be sure pollution played a role.

However, in multiple studies air pollution has been linked to a host of health problems, including respiratory disease, heart problems, and, more recently, decline in brain function.

And the risks in this study "occurred at levels below current national air quality standards, suggesting that these standards may need to be reevaluated," the author wrote.

source
http://www.ehn.org/weekend-reader-for-s ... 43401.html

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More than half of British children exposed to illegal levels of air pollution, Labour analysis reveals

All children in London live in areas where toxic air exceeds legal limits.

Chloe Chaplain
11 hours ago

More than half of all children in the UK are living in areas with illegal levels of air pollution, shocking new figures have revealed.

Around 8.3 million children live in local authority areas where levels of harmful pollutants exceeded legal limits in 2015.

The number equates to 61 per cent of all under 18s who are being exposed to illegal levels of the dangerous nitrogen dioxide, Labour party analysis has suggested.

The figures, taken from documents in the House of Commons Library, suggests around 2.5 million of those affected are under five-years-old.

All children in London face illegal pollution levels, as the air quality limits were exceeded in all boroughs in the capital.

And outside London, Yorkshire and the Humber was the worst affected region, with an estimated 83 per cent of youngsters living in areas with illegal pollution.

These were followed by the North East, North West and West Midlands.

Most of the pollutant nitrogen dioxide is produced by road transport, particularly diesel vehicles.

Toxic air causes an estimated 40,000 premature deaths a year in the UK and is linked to health problems from childhood illnesses to heart disease and even dementia. It is also thought to affect children's development.

In July ministers unveiled court-mandated plans for meeting the European Union limits on the pollutant after a long-running battle with legal charity ClientEarth.

The Government was ordered to produce the latest air pollution plans after the courts ruled previous proposals were insufficient to meet EU pollution limits, which the UK has breached since the rules came into effect in 2010.

But official estimates suggest compliance for levels of nitrogen dioxide will not be met until 2026.

Sue Hayman, shadow environment secretary, said: "With the majority of our young people now growing up in areas that breach air quality limits it's clear the UK is in the middle of a dirty air emergency.

"Dirty air is a clear and present health hazard; it can take years off a person's life.

"Cleaning up our air should be a national priority, unfortunately this Tory Government - which once promised to be the 'greenest ever' - has allowed the situation to escalate into a public health emergency on their watch.

"We need to act, to protect the health of all our children and the wellbeing of the country. That's why Labour has promised a new Clean Air Act to get a grip on pollution before it's too late."

An Environment Department (Defra) spokesman said: "Air pollution has improved significantly since 2010, but we recognise there is more to do which is why we have put in place a £3.5 billion plan to improve air quality and reduce harmful emissions.

"We will also end the sale of conventional new diesel and petrol cars and vans by 2040, and next year we will publish a comprehensive clean air strategy which will set out further steps to tackle air pollution."

source
https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/more ... 27241.html
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