Even low levels of industrial pollution shorten the lifespan of the elderly

Older people have a shorter lifespan due to airborne contaminants produced by “dirty diesel” pollution from traffic, wildfires and other industries.

Researchers say in a comprehensive study published in Health Effects Institute (HEI), that even low levels of pollution have adverse health effects in older adults. The first study of its kind followed some 68.5 million people over four years and extended to people living in rural areas and towns with little industry.

MarketWatch reported the study’s findings which suggest that if federal rules on permitted emissions were to become slightly stricter, some 143,000 deaths could have been prevented over ten years.

Air pollution as a major contributor to global disease

(Photo: Photo credit: ROMEO GACAD/AFP via Getty Images)
A diesel-powered commuter bus emits a thick trail of pollutants in Jakarta December 7, 2009. Current pledges by rich and developing countries to cut carbon pollution will stoke potentially catastrophic warming by the end of the century, according to a study published before the opening of the historic UN climate talks in Copenhagen. The historic conference of 192 nations will develop a battle plan against global warming.

According to HEI’s recent Global Burden of Disease – Major Air Pollution Sources report, a major source of fine soot particles comes from the burning of fossil fuels, which is responsible for more than one million deaths worldwide.

The 2021 research report shows that although air pollution concentrations have declined over the past decades, several studies in the past have recorded an association of relatively low concentrations of these particles with a high risk of mortality and long-term exposure. term. Moreover, health problems related to air pollution tend to concentrate on the youngest and oldest citizens, and therefore the most vulnerable.

Meanwhile, older people living downwind of fracking sites also had an increased risk of premature death.

“There is an urgent need to understand the causal link between life near or downwind of [unconventional oil and gas development] and adverse health effects,” study co-author Francesca Dominici told US News. Researchers analyzed data from more than 15 million Medicare beneficiaries who lived in all major fracking exploration regions in the United States between 2001 and 2015.

Also read: Africa’s ‘killer lake’ Kivu hides deadly toxic gas cloud that could erupt and risk millions

Risk of “death by Dirty Diesel”

A non-profit group named Clean Air Task Force (CATF) has released a US-focused digital tool to track diesel fuel-related deaths and economic impact. The band calls it “Death by Dirty Diesel”.

“Diesel vehicle emissions are wreaking havoc in communities across the United States. This interactive map explores the negative health effects of diesel emissions by state, county, and metropolitan area in the United States, with data on the diesel-related deaths, as well as other health and economic risks associated with diesel pollution,” the task force said on the website.

Besides cars, diesel powers commercial trucks on the country’s roads and has a greater impact on economic areas torn apart decades ago for main streets, freeways and elevated highways.

According to national data, there have been more than 8,000 deaths, 3,700 heart attacks, hundreds of thousands of other respiratory ailments, and nearly $1 trillion in economic damage projected for 2023 from diesel alone.

Additionally, other recent studies have also linked fine particle pollution to higher death rates from COVID-19, particularly In Black and other communities of color living near highways, power plants and other industrial facilities.

Also read: Toxic ‘eternal chemicals’ linked to cancer found in water-resistant clothing

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