More Evidence of the Benefits of Reducing Wood Smoke Pollution
Want to live longer? Breathe clean air.
New data published in the journal Epidemiology show the importance of fighting to reduce the particle pollution that is generated by wood burning and other activities.
Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health report that declining air pollution levels continue to improve life expectancy in the U.S. Specifically, data from 545 counties nationwide, both metropolitan and rural, show an average decrease of 1.56 micrograms per cubic meter in particulate pollution from 2000 to 2007 that parallels a life expectancy increase of an average of 0.84 years.
In the winter, wood smoke pollution is the largest source of particle pollution in many communities. Numerous studies have shown associations between acute and chronic exposure to fine particle air pollution such as wood smoke and cardiopulmonary disease and mortality. Studies have also shown that reductions in air pollution are associated with reductions in adverse health effects as well as with improved life expectancy.
“Despite the fact that the U.S. population as a whole is exposed to much lower levels of air pollution than 30 years ago—because of great strides made to reduce people’s exposure—it appears that further reductions in air pollution levels continue to benefit public health,” said lead author Andrew Correia.
The senior author, Francesca Dominici, told the New York Times, “Our paper is strong evidence that additional investment in cleaning the air is beneficial.”
Everyone wants to live a long and healthy life. This winter, let’s work together to reduce wood smoke pollution and breathe cleaner air.