A new report details the drastic improvements in health
outcomes that occurred as a results of decreasing pollution across various countries, including
New research details the health benefits of pollution-reducing interventions.
There is little question that pollution adversely affects health.
But what’s the impact of pollution-reducing public interventions on health? Lets understand within the hope of answering this question, the Environmental Committee of the Forum of International Respiratory Societies in Lausanne, Switzerland, administered an investigation.
The report appears within the American Thoracic Society’s (ATS) journal, Annals of the American Thoracic Society.
Reducing pollution cuts Mortality, Asthma
One of the study’s key findings regards the consequences of banning smoking in Ireland. The report found a 13% reduction in mortality from any cause, a 26% drop by the occurrence of ischemic heart condition, also as a 32% drop by cases of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Closing the steelworks also cut school absenteeism by 40% and reduced daily mortality. Shutting down the steelworks for just 13 months halved the concentration of pollutants within the air.
Also, for each 100 micrograms (μg)/cubic meters (m3) of air pollutants, closing the mill resulted during a 16% reduction in deaths.
Finally, women who were pregnant during the shutdown were far less likely to possess premature births than those that were pregnant before or after it. This was very true of girls who were in their trimester during the closure.
Benefits of shutting down transport
A similar phenomenon occurred in China during the 2008 Olympic games. Factory and travel restrictions issued by the govt between July 1st and September 20th led to a drop of up to 62% in air pollutant concentrations.
Asthma-related hospital visits also dropped by 58% within 2 months of the government’s intervention. Rates of cardiovascular mortality — particularly among women and older adults — also fell, as did inflammation among young, healthy adults.
Why public health action is urgently needed?
The study’s lead author comments on the findings, saying, “Air pollution is [a] largely avoidable health risk that affects everyone.”
“Urban growth, expanding industrialization, heating , and new knowledge of the harm of pollution are among the factors that raise the degree of urgency for pollution control and stress the results of inaction,” cautions Dr. Schraufnagel.
“Fortunately, reducing pollution may result in prompt and substantial health gains. Sweeping policies affecting an entire country can reduce all-cause mortality within weeks. Local programs, like reducing traffic, have also promptly improved many health measures.”
“We knew there have been benefits from pollution control, but the magnitude and comparatively short time duration to accomplish them were impressive.”