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Older People Have Greater Risk of Death from Lower Levels of Air Pollution

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Older People Have Greater Risk of Death from Lower Levels of Air Pollution

January 12
16:14 2018

Image result for air pollution in china for elderly

If you live near any city or industry center, you are familiar with that haze in the air. It’s especially noticeable on a clear day. For decades, we’ve called it smog, which is a combination of air pollution, dust particles and even tiny water drops that cling to the dust and pollution particles.

Many local news stations often announce air quality levels including pollution levels, pollens and molds. When levels get too high, which seems to be more of a warm or hot weather phenomenon, they issue respiratory alerts and recommend that people with respiratory conditions stay inside as much as possible, you mow your lawns later in the evening and the same with getting gas in your cars.

Everyone knows that air pollution can be dangerous to someone’s health. There were great concerns with the health and safety of athletes and spectators at the 2008 Summer Olympics held in Beijing, China, due to the extreme levels of air pollution. We saw images of the Chinese people walking around wearing masks similar to what a surgeon would wear during an operation.

Air pollution is a major health hazard, but did you know that even levels below the current safety standards can be hazardous to your health?

Part of it depends on the type of pollutant. My wife worked in a large warehouse for about 2 years. Although you didn’t see it in the air, there was enough concrete dust in the air from the many forklifts that ran in the warehouse, that now she has a form of COPD and related asthma.

Recent studies have revealed that even short-term exposure for some seniors to low levels of air pollution can increase their risk of dying sooner.

One source reported:

“Levels of air pollution well below current safety standards raise the risk of premature death among senior citizens, say Harvard researchers. The risk was even higher among the elderly who were female, black, or low-income.”

“‘This is the most comprehensive study of short-term exposure to pollution and mortality to date,’ said the study’s senior author Francesca Dominici, co-director of the Harvard Data Science Initiative. ‘We found that the mortality rate increases almost linearly as air pollution increases’.”

Another source reported:

“Short-term exposure to air pollution was associated with an increased risk for mortality in the U.S. Medicare population from 2000 to 2012, even at pollution levels below national air quality standards, according to findings recently published in JAMA.”

“‘Several studies have provided evidence that short-term exposures to [fine particulate matter] and ozone were associated with mortality, but these studies primarily included large and well-monitored metropolitan areas,’ Quan Di, MS, of the department of environmental health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and colleagues wrote.”

If you are one of our older citizens or you suffer from any type of respiratory condition, these reports make it more important for you to listen to the warnings you hear on the local weather. Additionally, days with no warnings but when you can see a distinct layer of smog in the air, you may want to limit your exposure outside. If you live near a pollution source like a factory, you may seriously consider moving further away, if that’s at all possible.

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