Pollution Contributes to Premature Deaths, Health Costs, Report Finds
Air pollutants from California's cargo industry will result in about 750 premature deaths in 2005 and cost an estimated $70 billion in related health care costs by 2020, according to a study by the Air Resources Board, the Los Angeles Times reports. The study is based on an analysis of medical records and computer predictions of pollution increases and population growth.
According to the study, particulate matter -- primarily from diesel-burning ships, trains and trucks, and pollutants that form ozone in the atmosphere -- is the main pollutant associated with premature death, cancer risk, increased risk of heart disease and asthma and other respiratory illnesses.
According to the study, health care costs associated with transportation emissions are estimated at $6.3 billion in 2005. The study found that cargo-related pollution in 2005 is responsible for some of these costs, accounting for:
- 290 hospital admissions;
- 18,000 asthma attacks; and
- An estimated 160,000 lost days of work, 1.1 million days of restricted activity and 350,000 school absences.
The report recommends that the state act to reduce diesel-related health risks by 85% by 2020, in addition to three other goals specific to pollution and emissions.
Public hearings on the recommendations will be held statewide beginning early next year (Schoch, Los Angeles Times, 12/3).
The report is available online.