Washington DC (ChatterShmatter) – C. Arden Pope led a research team from Brigham Young and Harvard University which studied the impact of changes in air quality on the life span of people in 51 cities between the years 1980 and 2000. The results show an increase in the life expectancy of urban dwellers by an average of 5 months.
The study which is being released in today’s New England Journal of Medicine, showed that overall people living in an urban setting saw a rise in the life expectancy by almost 3 years, 5 months of that can be attributed to improvements to air quality.
The Washington DC area showed the biggest improvement because it is in this region where the most has been done to reduce the amount of airborne fine particle matter and soot which can lead to respiratory and cardiac issues down the road.
The study also took into consideration additional factors which lead to a longer life in all cities including changes in population, economy, income, demographics and smoking but in the end the researchers were able to prove that the improvements made to the air quality contributed the most profoundly to the extension of life.
It is now the hope of organizations like the American Lung Association to use this data to continue to lobby for more improvements and more money put into the development of improved air quality.
Over the 20 years covered in the study the government with help from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continued to review the federal regulations in place for various industries which contribute mightily to the degradation of the air. Companies manufacturing cars and power plants can expect continued pressure from public service organizations to build cleaner cars and reduce the amount of smog generated from it’s product.
The interesting development down the road will be the impact of these findings on industries already in dire straits in the current economy and the additional pressure they will face when the federal regulations tighten the belt again to reduce the amount of smog and what is considered an acceptable standard level of airborne soot.