Air Pollution Contributes to Health, Other Costs
Air pollution in the San Joaquin Valley region costs $3.2 billion annually in medical bills, lost productivity and premature death, according to a study by California State University-Fullerton economists released Wednesday, the Fresno Bee reports (Grossi, Fresno Bee, 3/30). In the first-of-its-kind study, researchers calculated the health and economic costs of the region's air quality, which is ranked among the worst in the nation.
The study found that pollution annually causes:
- 23,000 asthma attacks;
- 3,230 cases of acute bronchitis in children;
- 188,000 days of school absences;
- 3,000 lost work days;
- 188,400 days of reduced activity in adults;
- 260 hospital admissions;
- 17,000 days of respiratory problems in children (Lucas, San Francisco Chronicle, 3/30); and
- 460 premature deaths from heart and lung disease among residents ages 30 and older (Bowman, Sacramento Bee, 3/30).
According to researchers, the valley would save an average of $1,000 per resident annually if the air quality were brought to federal ozone and dust standards. The savings would double if the air quality met California clean air standards, researchers said (San Francisco Chronicle, 3/30).
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