A new study by researchers at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) finds a correlation between reductions in fine particulate matter and an average extended life expectancy of .35 years in 545 counties in the US from 2000 to 2007.

The report showed a stronger association between declining air pollution and increased life expectancy in more urban, densely populated areas than in rural areas, possibly because the composition of the particulates may be of different composition from that in rural areas.

The results also suggest that reduced levels of pollution might be more beneficial to women than to men.

Lead author of the study, Andrew Correia, is a PhD candidate in the Biostatistics Department at HSPH.  He observed, “Despite the fact that the US population as a whole is exposed to much lower levels of air pollution than 30 years ago—because of great strides made to reduce people’s exposure—it appears that further reductions in air pollution levels would continue to benefit public health.”

Source:  Harvard School of Public Health Update, December 18, 2012       Study published in Epidemiology, December 3, 2012     Study funded by US EPA, NIH, Harvard-NIEHS Center for Environmental Health, NIEHS, MRC Strategic Grant and the Health Effects Institute.

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