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Clean air protects lives

According to a combined study by researchers from Ireland, Boston and the Netherlands, it was confirmed that cleaner air is linked to reduced death rates Cleaning up the air really can save lives. The investigators in Dublin and Boston// centered their research on a 1990 ban on coal in Dublin. They studied the death rates in the six years before and after the ban was implemented. After the ban, the amount of black smoke decreased by about 65 percent. There was a 5 percent decrease in non-trauma related deaths and a 20-percent decrease in respiratory deaths. Researchers say they even observed a 15-percent decrease in cardiovascular deaths.

In a second study reported in the same medical journal, researchers from the Netherlands observed the link between traffic-related air pollution and death. Between 1984 and 1995, they studied 4,500 people and found 15 percent of the study population died during the follow-up. Of those, people who lived near a main road were twice as likely to die from problems with their heart or lungs.

Both of these studies confirm a significant connection between polluted air and cause of death. In an accompanying commentary, one researcher wrote that while these studies suggest the need for further research, they also point out the need for changes in public health policy. Industry-related pollutants and traffic emissions make up a large portion of pollutants around the world.


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