Ozone is Comparable to Smoking

When UPHE was formed in 2007, we compared air pollution to smoking cigarettes. For example, air pollution typical of winter inversions was the equivalent of smoking cigarettes, about a half a pack a day. The power brokers in state government were embarrassed and angered by that comparison and assigned a member of the DAQ to make a presentation mocking our comparison. It was a scientific disaster, but the state and our detractors still love trying to discredit that analogy.

Although that analogy has held up, we now have a virtually unassailable study that finds an even stronger comparison between air pollution and smoking. Published in the flag ship journal of the American Medical Association, an elegant study found this:

“If the ambient ozone level [over 10 years] was 3 parts per billion higher where you live compared to another location, that was associated with an increase in emphysema roughly the equivalent of smoking a pack of cigarettes a day for 29 years.”

Just 3 ppb ozone over ten years accelerated lung disease as much as 29 years of smoking a pack a day! The EPA’s “safety” ozone standard is way too high, 70 ppb, and today the ozone level was 77 ppm!

All air pollution matters, even low levels are not safe, and yes, it is as bad as smoking cigarettes. And it isn’t just adults that inhale air pollution, it’s pregnant mothers and children as well. [Read More]