A recent analysis of existing studies on the link between tiny soot particles and premature death due to cardiovascular problems has revealed that mortality rates are twice as high as previously believed. Health Effects Institute, a nonprofit organization created by the EPA to provide unbiased studies of the health effects of air pollution, released its findings on June 4th. Birmingham and Atlanta were among the cities included in the study. According to the new evaluation, the risk of having a condition that is a precursor to heart attacks goes up by 24% as opposed to 12% as particle concentrations increase. These particles, which have a diameter of less than a 30th of a human hair, are produced by diesel engines, automobile tires, coal-fired power plants, and oil refineries, among other things.
The link between these particles and cardiopulmonary disease has been known for twenty years. The EPA began regulating their emissions in 1997 but declined to lower chronic exposure limits in 2006 despite evidence that the particles were deadlier than once believed. The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia found that decision to be inadequate. The Obama Administration is now considering what levels are appropriate. Hopefully, this study will provide the necessary stimulus to get something done.
Source: Associated Press
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