24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (877)SAFEGBC or (877)723-3422 Mental Health & Substance Abuse Issues

6502 Nursery Drive, Suite 100
Victoria, TX 77904

Medical Disorders
Basic InformationLookupsLatest News
AHA News: What Migraine Sufferers Need to Know About Stroke RiskNorovirus Fears Stir Recall of Frozen BlackberriesFlying Insects in Hospitals Carry 'Superbug' GermsU.S. Cases of Infant Gut Illness Plummet After Vaccine IntroducedAHA News: This Faulty Gene May Help Predict Heart Muscle DiseaseCell Mapping Provides New Insights About AsthmaHealth Tip: Recognizing Balance DisordersThe Safer Way to Ease Post-Surgical PainLong Work Hours Tied to Higher Odds for StrokeSudden Death Can Occur Even in Well-Controlled EpilepsyStatins May Lower Risk of Stroke After Cancer RadiotherapyExperimental Drug Shows Early Promise Against Sickle Cell DiseaseFitness in Middle Age Cuts Men's Odds for COPD LaterVitamin D Supplements May Not Help Your HeartHow to Head Off a Pain in the NeckSprouts Supermarkets Recalls Frozen Spinach Due to Listeria FearsA-Fib Can Raise Dementia Risk, Even in Absence of StrokeAnother Climate Change Threat: More 'Flesh-Eating' Bacteria?Heading to Europe This Summer? Get Your Measles ShotAiling Heart Can Speed the Brain's Decline, Study FindsHealth Tip: Preventing GlaucomaHead Injuries Tied to Motorized Scooters Are Rising: StudyOverweight Kids Are at Risk for High Blood PressureHot Water Soak May Help Ease Poor Leg CirculationHealth Tip: Understanding RosaceaHealth Tip: Causes of Swollen Lymph NodesAHA News: Study Provides Rare Look at Stroke Risk, Survival Among American IndiansCDC Opens Emergency Operations Center for Congo Ebola OutbreakScared Safe: Pics of Sun's Damage to Face Boost Sunscreen UseNo Needle Prick: Laser-Based Test Hunts Stray Melanoma Cells in BloodBats Are Biggest Rabies Danger, CDC SaysEmgality Receives First FDA Approval for Treating Cluster HeadacheZerbaxa Approved for Hospital-Acquired Bacterial PneumoniaBlood From Previously Pregnant Women Is Safe for Donation: StudyStudy Refutes Notion That People on Warfarin Shouldn't Eat Leafy GreensCancer Survivors Predicted to Top 22 Million by 2030Your Guide to a Healthier Home for Better Asthma ControlHigh Blood Pressure at Doctor's Office May Be More Dangerous Than SuspectedAHA News: 3 Simple Steps Could Save 94 Million Lives WorldwideHealth Tip: Dealing With Motion SicknessHealth Tip: Symptoms of MeningitisRace Affects Life Expectancy in Major U.S. CitiesVitamin D Supplements Don't Prevent Type 2 Diabetes: StudyChickenpox Vaccine Shields Kids From Shingles, TooWhooping Cough Vaccine Effectiveness Fades With Time: StudyOpioids Put Alzheimer's Patients at Risk of Pneumonia: StudyHealth Tip: Early Signs of Lyme DiseaseHealth Tip: Hiccup Home RemediesSheep Study Shows a Stuffy Side Effect of VapingShould Air Quality Checks Be Part of Your Travel Planning?
Questions and AnswersLinks
Related Topics


Fewer Deaths Tied to Dirty Air, But Threats Persist: Report

HealthDay News
by By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter
Updated: May 23rd 2019

new article illustration

WEDNESDAY, May 22, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Significant but uneven improvements in air quality have greatly reduced U.S. deaths related to air pollution over the past decade, a new study shows.

But researchers are concerned that climate change and regulatory rollbacks under the Trump administration will wipe out those advances and put thousands more lives at risk from bad air every year.

"If you look at the trend, it's already been slowing down in recent years," said lead researcher Kevin Cromar. He is an associate professor of population health and environmental medicine at New York University in New York City. "If we want to continue these improvements, these rollbacks are pushing us in the wrong direction."

Overall, deaths tied to air pollution have decreased by about 43% -- from about 12,600 deaths in 2010 to 7,140 in 2017, Cromar and his colleagues reported.

But the story gets more complicated when you zero in on the two main causes of air pollution: soot and ozone.

Deaths due to airborne soot, or fine particle pollution, declined by more than half between 2010 and 2017 -- from 8,330 down to 3,260, the findings showed.

"We really have seen some great improvement in terms of the health impacts of particle pollution," Cromar said. "That's real progress."

But deaths due to smog -- also known as ozone pollution -- have remained relatively level over the years. There were 4,270 deaths in 2010, compared with 3,880 in 2017, according to the report.

Particle pollution has been more easy to address, since soot comes from well-known sources that can be tackled head-on, Cromar said.

"We understand those processes quite well, so we know what emissions we can control that lead to lower levels of particle pollution," he said. "The management of it is a little more straightforward."

Ozone is harder to wrangle, since it is formed by the interaction of sunlight and heat with gaseous industrial and automotive emissions, he explained.

"The chemistry is complex," Cromar said. "The management of it is complex."

In the study, the researchers used air quality data from more than 500 counties for particle pollution and 700 counties for ozone to estimate the annual health impacts of air pollution across the United States.

The findings are based on the American Thoracic Society's recommendations for air pollution, which are more protective than those of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Unfortunately, temperature and weather shifts caused by climate change are likely to result in worse air, experts said.

Wildfires promoted by heat and dry weather have caused a huge leap in particle pollution in some regions, particularly along the West Coast, said Dr. David Hill of the American Lung Association's national board of directors.

Ozone levels also are more likely to increase with climate change, Hill said.

"The hotter it is, the more ozone we have," he added. "That's why those bad ozone alert days tend to be the hazy, hot, humid summer days. The more heat we have, the more of those days we have."

To make matters worse, Cromar and Hill said President Donald Trump has spearheaded efforts to slow progress in cleaning up emissions from cars and power plants.

"We're currently facing an administration and an EPA that's rolling back some of these safeguards as opposed to them trying to improve them," Hill said.

And even if pollution levels remain constant, the death toll will continue to increase because the U.S. population continues to grow, he added.

Cromar said, "You kind of have to make improvements to stay in place. If your pollution level stays the same but your population is going up, you're going to see increases in health impacts over time because more people are being exposed. It's like you have to run just to stay in place."

The EPA recently announced that many locations are not meeting the national ambient air quality standard for ozone, Cromar said. States that fail to show improvement in the next three years will be required to develop a plan for reaching the standard.

The new study was published online May 22 in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

More information

Read the report to learn more about the air quality in your community.