Every additional 100 micrograms of particulate matter per cubic meter in the atmosphere lowers life expectancy at birth by three years.

A quasi-experiment in China provides quantitative evidence of particulate air pollution from coal dramatically lowering life expectancy.

A Chinese friend of mine told me about his age cohort aging far faster than he after he emigrated to the US and returned later, from his personal observation.

Innovative Study Estimates Extent to Which Air Pollution in China S...

A high level of air pollution, in the form of particulates produced by burning coal, significantly shortens the lives of people exposed to it, according to a unique new study of China co-authored by an MIT economist.

"We can now say with more confidence that long-run exposure to pollution, especially particulates, has dramatic consequences for life expectancy,"...

The paper, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, also contains a generalized metric that can apply to any country's environment: Every additional 100 micrograms of particulate matter per cubic meter in the atmosphere lowers life expectancy at birth by three years.

In China, particulate-matter levels were more than 400 micrograms per cubic meter between 1981 and 2001, according to Chinese government agencies; state media have reported even higher levels recently, with cities including Beijing recording levels of more than 700 micrograms per cubic meter in January. (By comparison, total suspended particulates in the United States were about 45 micrograms per cubic meter in the 1990s.)

 

Tags: cardiorespiratory disease, dirty coal, lifespan, particulate air pollution

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Replies to This Discussion

Not long ago here in Pennsylvania, I've seen billboards advertising so-called "clean coal" as an abundant, cheap, and sensible energy source. Wouldn't be surprised if that's a con by the entrenched coal industry.

ratio of deaths to energy, by energy source

with a striking graphic

 You may remember those coal mine workers who were trapped in Argentina for a long long time when part of their mine collapsed - apparently accidents in coal mines kill a lot of people - the dramatic story in Argentina was only the tip of the iceberg. 

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