Air pollution kills 200,000 people a year, vehicle emissions largely to blame

Automobile emissions are linked to some 53,000 premature deaths every year, according to a new study by MIT

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

air-pollution1A new study released by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) shows that air pollution is prematurely killing off some 200,000 Americans every year, and the leading source of that pollution is vehicle emissions. In fact, some 53,000 deaths annually are linked to exposure to automotive exhaust. Following a close second is electric power generation, which accounted for 52,000 deaths.

“It was surprising to me just how significant road transportation was [as a contributing factor],” said Steven Barrett, an assistant professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT, in a statement, “especially when you imagine [that] coal-fired power stations are burning relatively dirty fuel.”

The study results, which were published in the scientific journal Atmospheric Environment, used information collected in 2005, but Barrett and his team say the data is reflective of current usage and trends. Other areas of emissions studied were industry, commercial and residential sources, marine transportation and rail transportation.

When researchers broke down the data and analyzed the health impact of air pollution by state, California topped the list for suffering the worst health effects from air pollution. About 21,000 premature deaths — or slightly more than 10 percent of all pollution-related deaths annually — occur in the Golden State, with emissions from road transportation and commercial/residential heating and cooking cited as the main culprits.

Most of the premature deaths related to electricity generation were in the Midwest and east-central parts of the U.S., where power plants tend to rely on coal with higher sulfur content.

The city with the highest emissions-related deaths was Baltimore, where 130 out of every 100,000 residents die each year from long-term exposure to air pollution.

Premature deaths were categorized as deaths occurring a decade earlier than expected. The research was based on data collected by the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Emissions Inventory.

The question is as to whether it really required an expensive study yet again to “discover” and confirm something that we have known already for decades and of which the Hippies in the 1960s and 1970s already warned us all. But then again they were just eccentrics and not scientists.

However, they and many others of us, were right and renaming the pollution as “brown carbon”, as has been done as to the soot that is causing glacial melt in the Himalayan mountains does not change this either.

The climate scientists have become obsessed with the word “carbon” and that, I would say, simply because of the invention of carbon trading and carbon certificates, the modern version of indulgences, nothing more.

We must get away from this carbon this and carbon that and address all pollution and also not just those from exhausts, whether vehicular, factory, power stations or others. A chimney is also but an exhaust, only bigger that that of a car or truck.

And it is not just airborne pollution that is an issue and a danger to us all and the Planet which is the only one that we have to live on. The is no Planet B, there is only Mother Earth.

© 2014