Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Tens of thousands of deaths linked to weak US air pollution rules

Emily Holden in Washington
Wed 20 Nov 2019 11.00 EST

US air pollution rules could be hugely insufficient in preventing deaths, experts are concluding from a new study of the likely causes of death of 4.5 million veterans.

Published in the peer-reviewed journal Jama, the research finds that 99% of deaths from illnesses linked to a certain type of air pollution occur in people who are exposed to lower levels than the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) currently deems acceptable.

But Donald Trump’s EPA could be set to maintain the current standard – thus leading to continued air pollution-associated deaths. The agency is also reconsidering the established science linking particle pollution from fossil fuels and other sources with a host of illnesses.

About 200,000 Americans are thought to die from air pollution each year, but scientists previously couldn’t pinpoint the specific causes of death for almost half of those people.


They linked nine causes of death with the pollution: cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, dementia, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, lung cancer and pneumonia.


Al-Aly explained that researchers examining only death records could only see “the tip of the iceberg”. His team reviewed the illnesses people struggled with before death to get a clearer picture of their overall health.


Another study published on Wednesday in Brain further confirmed the links between air pollution and cognitive problems. Women in their 70s and 80s who were exposed to higher levels of air pollution experienced greater declines in memory and more Alzheimer’s-like brain atrophy, according to researchers at the University of South Carolina.


No comments:

Post a Comment