More People Dying in California from Polluted Air than Killed in Automobile Accidents!
Air Pollution in Southern California, Picture Credit: Infinite Wilderness
The state of California struggles with the economic slowdown and is looking for billions of dollars in the current bailout by the government as poor air quality continues to stagnate the so called “green state” leader. A recent study on air quality in Southern California by Cal State Fullerton reveals a real death hazard is lurking in California air.
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) – Lowering air pollution in Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley would save more lives annually than ending all motor vehicle fatalities in the two regions, according to a new study featured in My Way News.
The study, which examined the costs of air pollution in two areas with the worst levels in the country, also said meeting federal ozone and fine particulate standards could save $28 billion annually in health care costs, school absences, missed work and lost income potential from premature deaths.
The findings were released last month as the California Air Resources Board considers controversial new regulations to reduce diesel truck emissions, a move that could cost 170,000 business owners $5.5 billion. According to a board staff report, the savings in health care costs would be $68 billion by 2020 if the regulations were adopted next month.
Researchers at California State University-Fullerton sought to assess the potential economic benefits that could be achieved by reducing air pollution to levels within federal standards.
The Cal State Fullerton study says that particulate pollution levels must fall by 50 percent in both regions for health and economic benefits to occur, something they acknowledged would be “very difficult to achieve.”
“For decades there has been a tug of war over what to do about air pollution,” said Jane Hall, lead author of the study at Cal State Fullerton. “We are paying now for not having done enough.”
To illustrate its point, the study noted that the California Highway Patrol recorded 2,521 vehicular deaths in the San Joaquin Valley and South Coast Air Basin in 2006, compared to 3,812 deaths attributed to respiratory illness caused by particulate pollution.
Studies have indicated a relationship between ozone and particulate pollution and asthma and other respiratory problems, including chronic bronchitis. They also have connected particulate pollution with an increase in cardiovascular problems.
If pollution levels were to improve to federal standards, the study says residents of the two air basins would suffer 3,860 fewer premature deaths, 3,780 fewer nonfatal heart attacks and would miss 470,000 fewer days of work annually. School children would miss more than 1.2 million fewer days of school, a savings of $112 million in caregiver costs. There also would be more than 2 million fewer cases of upper respiratory problems.
The bottom line: painful times ahead.
Cleaning up air pollution in California will take a back seat while the California legislature and Governor try to get a handle on a $27 million dollar deficit that needs to be handled by reduced spending in the state. Stop spending and budget cuts are going to have to be done. Gonna hurt, but the whole country is going to go through this process starting right now. It’s tough to be green if you don’t have enough money to take care of business.