AUG 08, 2019 11:19 AM PDT

Cutting air pollution saves lives in New York

New research published in Environmental Research Letters reports that lowering New York’s air pollution levels has had drastically positive results. According to the study, which was led by Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Observatory atmospheric chemistry research group, lower air pollution levels saved approximately 5,660 lives in New York State in 2012, compared to 2002 levels.

The study focused on levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5). PM2.5 is a pollutant composed of a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets that is a result of a) burning fuel, and b) chemical reactions like sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides from power plants, industries and cars.

Continued exposure to PM2.5 has been shown to be dangerous to public health and can result in respiratory and cardiovascular problems. The study looked particularly at the public health impact from PM2.5 in terms of chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, ischemic heart disease, lung cancer, and cerebrovascular and ischemic stroke.

Lead researcher Xiaomeng Jin explains that the study analyzed seven datasets to come to the conclusion that PM2.5 levels fell by 28% to 37% between 2002 and 2012. "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.” The researchers determined that the air pollution mortality burden for New York State residents by fell by 67% during that time period, shown by an obvious change of 8,410 premature deaths in 2002 to 2,750 deaths in 2012.

Cutting air pollution is saving lives in New York. Photo: Pixabay

The authors say that keeping track of the benefits of reducing air pollution is important for policy implementation. Referencing the Clean Air Act of 1970, co-author Arlene Fiore comments, "Those reviews have sometimes resulted in stricter standards being set, which in turn set in motion the process of emission controls to meet those standards.”

Sources: Science Daily, Environmental Research Letters

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
AUG 27, 2020
Plants & Animals
Polar Bear Populations Could Collapse by 2100
AUG 27, 2020
Polar Bear Populations Could Collapse by 2100
A new study reports that polar bear populations could collapse in the next 80 years if greenhouse gas emissions remain a ...
SEP 04, 2020
Microbiology
Researchers Discover a Way to Use Microbes to Help Make Plastic
SEP 04, 2020
Researchers Discover a Way to Use Microbes to Help Make Plastic
Researchers have discovered that some bacteria can make ethylene in a way we never knew about; microbes that metabolize ...
SEP 11, 2020
Earth & The Environment
Almost all forest fires are caused by humans, new study reports
SEP 11, 2020
Almost all forest fires are caused by humans, new study reports
New research published in the journal Fire reports that 97% of wildfires in the US that threaten homes are started by hu ...
OCT 26, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
When Exposed to Estrogen, Fish Generate Fewer Males
OCT 26, 2020
When Exposed to Estrogen, Fish Generate Fewer Males
Life on earth relies on clean water, something that is becoming more scarce. Researchers have found that if water is con ...
OCT 25, 2020
Neuroscience
Chimps Shift to Reciprocated Friendships with Age
OCT 25, 2020
Chimps Shift to Reciprocated Friendships with Age
Image: Pixabay   Researchers studying aging male chimpanzee relationships have gathered evidence that chimps narrow ...
NOV 13, 2020
Earth & The Environment
What the cylones of the past can tell us about the cyclones of the future
NOV 13, 2020
What the cylones of the past can tell us about the cyclones of the future
Research from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) has reconstructed the patterns of historical tropical cycl ...
Loading Comments...