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Air Pollution Causes 200,000 Early US Deaths: Study

Posted by feww on August 29, 2013

Victims of air pollution typically die about a decade prematurely

Air pollution causes 200,000 early deaths in the U.S., according to a new MIT study, which also finds vehicle emissions as the biggest contributor to these premature deaths.

Researchers from MIT’s Laboratory for Aviation and the Environment have tracked ground-level emissions from multiple sources including vehicle tailpipes, industrial smokestacks, marine and rail operations, and commercial and residential heating throughout the United States, and found that the pollution causes about 200,000 early deaths each year.

Highlights from the report

  • Road transportation are the most significant contributor to air pollution, causing 53,000 premature deaths.
  • Power generation follows closely with 52,000 deaths
  • California air pollution commits about 21,000 people to early deaths annually,
  • The highest emissions-related mortality rate among 5,695 U.S. cities mapped was in Baltimore, where 130 out of every 100,000 residents likely die each year due to long-term exposure to air pollution.

annual average conc of fine particulates - mit-sThis graphic shows the annual average concentrations of fine particulates from U.S. sources of combustion emissions from (a) electric power generation; (b) industry; (c) commercial and residential sources; (d) road transportation; (e) marine transportation; (f) rail transportation; (g) sum of all combustion sources; (h) all sources. Graphic: Laboratory for Aviation and the Environment/MIT

“In the past five to 10 years, the evidence linking air-pollution exposure to risk of early death has really solidified and gained scientific and political traction,” says Steven Barrett, an assistant professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT. “There’s a realization that air pollution is a major problem in any city, and there’s a desire to do something about it.”

The researchers have published their results in the journal Atmospheric Environment.

4 Responses to “Air Pollution Causes 200,000 Early US Deaths: Study”

  1. gbrm said

  2. RuffleTheTeacher said

    • feww said

      Important point being missed here?

      Worldwide, tobacco use causes [MANY] more than 5 million deaths per year.

      Smoking causes cancer, heart disease, stroke, and lung diseases (including emphysema, bronchitis, and chronic airway obstruction).

      For every person who dies from a smoking-related disease, 20 more people suffer with at least one serious illness from smoking

      Overall mortality among both male and female smokers in the United States is about three times higher than that among similar people who never smoked.

      The major causes of excess mortality among smokers are diseases that are related to smoking, including cancer and respiratory and vascular disease.

      Smoking cigarettes, pipes, or cigars increases the risk of dying from cancers of the lung, esophagus, larynx, and oral cavity.

      Smokeless tobacco is a known cause of human cancer.
      In addition, the nicotine in smokeless tobacco may increase the risk for sudden death from a condition where the heart does not beat properly (ventricular arrhythmias); as a result, the heart pumps little or no blood to the body’s organs.

      Cigarette smoking causes about one of every five deaths in the United States each year. Cigarette smoking is estimated to cause the following:

      More than 440,000 deaths annually (including deaths from secondhand smoke)

      49,400 deaths per year from secondhand smoke exposure
      269,655 deaths annually among men (including deaths from secondhand smoke)

      173,940 deaths annually among women (including deaths from secondhand smoke)
      http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/health_effects/tobacco_related_mortality/
      [The CDC figures above are too conservative!]

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