Air Pollution Exposure May Hasten Death Even at Levels Deemed ‘Safe’: Study

Even at levels considered safe by the Environmental Protection Agency, the fine particulates and ozone in air pollution were associated with premature risk of death, according to a new Harvard study. (Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

At a time when the Trump administration is moving to delay and dismantle air quality regulations, a new study suggests that air pollution continues to cut Americans’ lives short, even at levels well below the legal limits set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The nationwide study of more than 60 million senior citizens linked long-term exposure to two main smog pollutants — ozone and fine particulate matter — to an increased risk of premature death.

The analysis found no sign of a “safe” level of pollution, below which the risk of dying early tapered off.

Harvard University scientists who conducted the study calculated that reducing fine particle pollution by 1 microgram per cubic meter nationwide would save about 12,000 lives each year. Another 1,900 lives would be saved annually by lowering ozone pollution by 1 part per billion, they found.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.