Friday, January 23, 2009
Clean Air Adds Half Of One Year – Almost
Mexico City -- View from Castillo de Chapultepec, back down the Paseo de la Reforma, the monument in the distance, the Angel del la independencia, is exactly one mile away. Now that is some serious pollution and this is in the morning, it is worse in the afternoon! Caption and Image Credit: rdstoker/flickr
Clean Air Adds Half Of One Year – Almost
The cleaning up of particulate air pollution brought on through emissions from automobiles, factories, aerosols, smoking and etc. has yielded citizens of the United States an extension of 21 weeks in the average life lived from the one lived 20 years ago.
The largest contributing factor to the reduction of air pollution track back to changes in smoking habits. More people are smoking less and those who do smoke are not smoking in confined spaces … they are taking their habit out of doors.
Overall, since the beginning of the effort to reduce fine particles given off by automobiles, diesel engines, steel mills and coal-fired power plants, life expectancy has risen as much as 15 percent of the overall 2.72 years of extra longevity seen in the United States since the early 1980s.
Particulate Air Pollution in Selected Cities, 1990-1995 -- Despite these efforts, however, air pollution remains an extremely serious environmental health problem in China. In fact, a host of recent studies have found China to have some of the worst air pollution in the world. A recent World Bank report, for example, includes four Chinese cities in its list of the 10 urban centers with the lowest air quality. The map also gives a sense of the severity of China's air pollution problem, even when compared with other major polluting cities here on the Oblate Spheroid. Caption (edited) and Image Credit: EarthTrends
This excerpted and edited from Reuters -
Cleaner air equals 21 more weeks of life
By Gene Emery - Thu Jan 22, 2009 3:36pm GMT
BOSTON (Reuters) - Dramatic improvements in U.S. air quality over the last two decades have added 21 weeks to the life of the average American, researchers reported on Wednesday.
Improved socioeconomic conditions, judged partly by the proportion of high school graduates living in an area, rank next. But cleaner air was a big factor.
"It's stunning that the air pollution effect seems to be as robust as it is after controlling for these other things," said Arden Pope, an epidemiologist at Brigham Young University in Utah who led the study, in a telephone interview.
Haze in Seoul, South Korea. 2007 -- It became obvious very quickly that the air quality in Seoul was very poor. Seoulites were frequently coughing and it's no wonder, with the worst air pollution levels in the OECD, Seoul's air quality is worse than other major urban centres such as Rome and Mexico City. Both of which are notorious for high levels of air pollution. Caption and Image Credit: lamkevin/flickr
Using life expectancy, economic, demographic and pollution data from 51 metropolitan areas, Pope and his colleagues found when fine-particle air pollution dropped by 10 micrograms per cubic meter, life expectancy rose by 31 weeks.
Areas such as Akron, Ohio, and Philadelphia showed that kind of drop in air pollution.
The bigger the decline, the longer people began living.
In some areas where fine-particle counts dropped by 13 to 14 micrograms -- such as Buffalo, New York and Pittsburgh -- people typically started living about 43 weeks longer.
The findings show there has been a real dividend from the efforts since the 1970s to improve air quality, said Pope.
In a commentary, Daniel Krewski of the University of Ottawa said the study "provides direct confirmation of the population health benefits of mitigating air pollution and greatly strengthens the foundation of the argument for air-quality management."
Based on earlier research, the World Health Organization has estimated that 1.4 percent of all deaths around the world are caused by air pollution particles.
This should be held up as bad news for nations such as China, Korea, India and Mexico due to the lack of particulate controls and personal smoking habits found there.