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Public Health & Air Pollution

Friday, March 03, 2017

A last Sunday pre-Oscar early dinner discussion with a few doctors spurred today's Friday Pearl on health and air pollution, based on a WebMD article.

The article suggests that air pollution is a much bigger factor in maintaining health than has previously been recognized, according to findings from one of the largest studies ever to examine the issue.

"Researchers followed close to 66,000 women - aged 50 to 70, living in 36 cities. All women were enrolled in the ongoing health study, the Women's Health Initiative. The findings clearly prove that air quality is a strong predictor of declining health.

"Fine particulate air pollution - caused primarily by vehicle exhausts, coal-fired power plants, and other industrial sources, was the sole type of air pollution associated with lack of health in this study.

"When all other risk factors were equal, the researchers found that women living in the most polluted cities had the highest risk of ill health, while women living in the cleanest cities had the lowest.

"Environmental epidemiologist Douglas Dockery, ScD, of the Harvard School of Public Health, told WebMD that it is now clear that fine particle air pollutants pose a risk to health and the scientific evidence supporting tighter restriction on fine particle pollution levels in now overwhelming."

The American Heart Association spokesman Russell Luepeker, MD, MS, agreed that federal regulations could be doing much more to address the problem. He said,"We have the technology to reduce the fine particle pollutants in the air, but we don't have the political will. As with many environmental issues, we have seen a great deal of resistance to change."

The obvious question: Should industrial profit and individual resistance to change ever supersede public health?

Ellen Troyer, with Spencer Thornton, MD, David Amess and the Biosyntrx staff


It’s clear that individual lifestyle choices are playing an important role in our health and the enormous cost of health care, which can be in part controlled through personal, industrial and government responsibility for the safety and quality of what we purchase to eat, the air we breath and the water we drink, among other things. 

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