Southern California smothers in worst smog in 7 years

Henrietta Brewer
August 13, 2016

That's followed by Pennsylvania (728 deaths), Texas (604), OH (578), Arizona (357), NY (317) and MI (275).

Starting this year, the federal Environmental Protection Agency lowered its ozone standard from 75 parts per billion to 70 parts per billion. ATS recommends a more stringent level of.060 parts per million, saying the seemingly small change would substantially lessen the number of avoidable deaths.

The Cleveland area's ninth place ranking nationally for air pollution-related deaths and serious illnesses was just above the Cincinnati area, which ranked 10th. "Many people die each year because of poor air quality, so if you improve the air quality, there will be health benefits". Of course, when it comes to air pollution, there's really no point at which we wouldn't be healthier from having less of it around, a detail the researchers note.

"The study shows that there is still a very large burden of illness associated with pollution and if we can bring the levels down a fairly modest amount, that might save almost 10,000 lives", said Michael Jarrett, professor and chair of the department of environmental sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles, and director of the Center for Occupational and Environmental Health at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. But stricter ozone levels recommended by the thoracic society - 60 parts per billion - could avert 6,408 deaths and almost 17 million health incidents.

In the Salt Lake City area, Cromar's team found, the difference between EPA's new standard and the thoracic society's recommendation would be around 13 fewer deaths and almost 56,000 fewer adverse health events. Chicago's industrialized history and frequent citations regarding air quality make this city suitable for testing the researchers' theory.

The numbers of deaths and illnesses then were estimated through computer analysis that took into account epidemiological studies linking various health effects to air pollution exposure.

For that reason, "there needs to be some regional cooperation" in addressing air-quality issues, he said. Researchers will collaborate with local community groups in Pittsburgh to help them understand the data and how the findings might be used to reduce exposure to air pollutants.

"These grants offer a joint learning experience as air quality experts and communities are learning from each other", James Johnson, Director of the National Center for Environmental Research in EPAs Office of Research and Development told EE Times.

The Cleveland area experienced fewer unhealthy days of high ozone levels this year than last year, but still remained the 27 most ozone-polluted in the country, which earned it an F grade.

The Research Triangle Institute (Research Triangle Park, N.C.) aims to cooperate with the National Jewish Health center in Denver, Globeville and Elyria Swansean (all Colo.) to use low-priced sensors to monitor and communicate air-quality with a layman-oriented display.

Ozone forms when nitrous oxide from sources such as power plants heats up and combines with pollution from motor vehicles and other sources.

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