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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Health Update

Air Date: Week of

Living On Earth’s Diane Toomey reports that a major new study has found that as the level of particulate pollution rises, so do death and hospitalization rates.


TOOMEY: Air pollution from diesel engines, power plants, and forest fires can penetrate deep into lungs. Since the early 90s, research has shown that this so-called particulate pollution is associated with illness and death. But those studies were criticized because they measured air quality in only one particular location. Now a major new study using data from the nation's largest ninety cities confirms the link between particulates and disease. It found that when particulate matter increased by about seven-millionths of an ounce per cubic meter, the death rate in that region the following day rose by one percent. Researchers also found that, under the same conditions, hospitalizations of the elderly rose two to four percent. The EPA and the auto industry funded the research, conducted by scientists at Johns Hopkins and Harvard University. And that's this week's environmental health update. I'm Diane Toomey.



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