A team of University of Illinois researchers estimated the mortality costs associated with air pollution in the U.S. by developing and applying a novel machine learning-based method to estimate the life-years lost and cost associated with air pollution exposure. Scholars from the Gies College of Business at Illinois studied the causal effects of acute fine particulate matter exposure on mortality, health care use and medical costs among older Americans through Medicare data and a unique way of measuring air pollution via changes in local wind direction. The researchers - Tatyana Deryugina, Nolan Miller, David Molitor and Julian Reif - calculated that the reduction in particulate matter experienced between 1999-2013 resulted in elderly mortality reductions worth $24 billion annually by the end of that period. Garth Heutel of Georgia State University and the National Bureau of Economic Research was a co-author of the paper. "Our goal with this paper was to quantify the costs of air pollution on mortality in a particularly vulnerable population: the elderly," said Deryugina, a professor of finance who studies the health effects and distributional impact of air pollution.
Air pollution kills--scientists have known this for many years. But how do they know? The global scientific community has developed and agreed upon a framework that draws on multiple lines of evidence across different scientific disciplines to assess the existence and strength of links between air pollution and health. In the United States, federal policies require use of this science-based framework to ensure that air pollution standards protect the public's health. But now this science-based policy process--and public health--are at risk.
Air pollution kills nearly nine million people across the world each year - twice as many as global health chiefs assumed, a study has claimed. Scientists now say breathing in toxic air caused by vehicle exhaust fumes, factories and power plants is responsible for more deaths than smoking. The World Health Organization (WHO) previously estimated air pollution was to blame for 4.5million deaths across the world. But German researchers recalculated available data to discover the true toll is closer to the 8.8million mark, with most caused by heart disease. In contrast, WHO - a branch of the UN - estimated tobacco smoking was responsible for 7.2million deaths globally in 2015.
Long-term exposure to low levels of air pollution can increase the risk of heart and lung disease, a new study reveals. Researchers used the addresses of 63 million US adults aged 65 and older to assess their exposure to particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and ozone (O3). Pollution exposure was then compared to whether they went on to experience a heart attack, stroke, atrial fibrillation and pneumonia. Worryingly, long-term exposure to all three pollutants at low concentrations – below international regulations – was consistently linked with an increased risk of all four conditions. In all forms, air pollution can cause harm to the cardiovascular and respiratory systems due to its effect on inflammation in the heart and throughout the body.
Living in a part of the United States with dirty air has been linked to a significantly greater risk of dying from covid-19, raising the prospect of air pollution data being used to forecast which areas may need the most help treating people with the illness. As long-term exposure to air pollution weakens the lungs, and covid-19 attacks them, researchers worldwide have been racing to establish whether poor air quality makes the disease more severe. Links have been drawn, but many studies fail to account for other possible reasons for the associations, such as population density. Francesca Dominici at Harvard University and her colleagues have now found that each extra microgram of tiny particulate matter – PM2.5 – per cubic metre of air over the long term increases the covid-19 mortality rate by 11 per cent. That puts the link between covid-19 and air pollution roughly on a par with the link between the disease and smoking.