POLLUTION: Study Links Deaths with Particulate Emission
Particulate emission, microscopic air pollutants released from tailpipes, power plants and other sources, are causing "measurable increases in deaths and the hospitalization of the elderly," according to a new study released today, the New York Times reports. Financed by automobile manufacturers and the Environmental Protection Agency, researchers at Johns Hopkins University and the Harvard School of Public Health studied particulate emission in 90 of the county's largest metropolitan areas. They found a 1% increase in the death rate for each "small increase" in particulate emission and a 2%-4% jump in the hospitalization rate of the elderly. The correlation was strongest in Northeastern cities, with New York City having a twice as high an increase in death rates compared to the average in other cities. Researchers indicated that the study provides "new and strong evidence linking particulate air pollution to adverse health effects." While the percentage points appear small, government officials said that the finding was important because of the large number of people exposed to particulates. The study coincides with the EPA's stepped-up efforts to regulate diesel exhaust and tailpipe emissions (Wald, 6/28).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.