Cleaner US air “adds months” to life

Inhabitants of cities in the United States may be benefiting from an average of five more months of life because of air-pollution reductions, the BBC reported. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine matched air pollution and life expectancy statistics from 51 cities between 1980 and 2000.


In the study, carried out by Brigham Young University and the Harvard School of Public Health, scientists found that people were living 2.72 years longer by 2000, and attributed 15% of that increase to declines in pollution.


The research focused on "PM 2.5" pollution, measuring levels of tiny particles with a diameter one-twentieth of the width of a human hair. These fine particles, which can travel deep into the lungs, have been linked with worsening rates of asthma and heart disease.


The researchers found that in cities with the biggest shift from polluted to clean air, this had yielded an average of 10 more months’ lifespan to its residents. For every decrease of 10 micrograms per cubic metre of particulate pollution, life expectancy increased by more than seven months.


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