The Deadly Toll of Air Pollution
Air pollution, even at modest levels, is deadly.
An international team of researchers used data from 652 cities in 24 countries to correlate levels of particulate matter pollution with day-to-day mortality rates.
They measured the concentrations of two microscopic particles of soot, PM 2.5 and PM 10, particles small enough to enter the lungs or the bloodstream.
The study, in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that as the concentration of particulate matter increased, so did the number of excess deaths.
In the United States, there was a daily mortality increase of 0.79 percent for each 10 micrograms per cubic meter increase in PM 10 and a 1.58 percent increase for each 10 microgram increase in PM 2.5. This would translate to an extra 178 deaths on a day when levels of these pollutants increased by these amounts.
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