Particulate matter is released by coal-burning plants and other sources. These small particles can lodge themselves deeply in human lungs, and are associated with heart and lung conditions and premature death.
"Our results suggest that the air quality improvement from 2001 to 2010 resulted in substantial health benefits. In fact, the health and financial impacts of air pollution could potentially be greater than those reported due to our selection of only a few health outcomes that could be quantitatively estimated and translated into monetary values," says lead investigator Deliang Tang, DrPH, associate professor of Environmental Health Sciences at the Mailman School of Public Health.
The study builds on similar research from CCCEH in China, showing improvements in air quality were linked with improved childhood developmental scores.
"Over the last ten years, our research in two Chinese cities have demonstrated that strong government policies to reduce air pollution can result in substantial health benefits for children and adults," says Frederica Perera, PhD, director of the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health at the Mailman School of Public Health. "These findings make the argument for stronger and broader regulations in Chinese cities where air pollution remains a serious health problem."
According to the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection, only three of 74 cities the government monitors meet minimum air standards. In March, Premier Li Kequiang announced that the country would "declare war against pollution," by reducing particulate matter and closing outdated industrial plants.
|Contact: Timothy Paul|
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health