Another study on air quality and life expectancy

Smog coats Salt Lake City. Photo by E P Kosmicki.

Is air pollution as bad as cigarettes? A new study says even worse. We’ve seen studies on air pollution and life expectancy before, and another one confirms the findings – chronic air pollution shortens life expectancy

Unfortunately for the rest of the world, air pollution isn’t just a Wasatch Front issue. “More than 97% of the global population lives in areas where air pollution exceeds recommended levels, the University of Chicago’s Energy Policy Institute said in its latest Air Quality Life Index, which used satellite data to measure levels of PM2.5, hazardous floating particles that damage the lungs.

It said that if global PM2.5 levels were reduced to the five micrograms per cubic meter recommended by the World Health Organization, average life expectancy would rise by an average of 2.2 years” a KSL article on the study writes. 

A survey of pollution data revealed that not a single country met the World Health Organization’s recommended PM2.5 levels last year. This is completely unacceptable. While there are things we can do as individuals to reduce our own contribution and improve local air quality, major action needs to be taken on a structural level to improve our health. 

Read the article here.