Air pollution control reduces death rate

Irish researchers have found that measures to control air pollution have dramatically reduced the death rate from respiratory and cardiovascular disease.

The researchers compared concentrations of air pollution and respiratory, cardiovascular and ‘non-trauma’ death rates for 72 months before and after the ban of coal sales in Dublin. They found that average concentrations of black smoke declined by 70 per cent after the ban. Death from respiratory disease declined by 15.5 per cent, those from cardiovascular disease went down by 10.3 per cent and non-trauma deaths by 5.7 per cent.

The results were greater than the researchers had predicted, even after adjusting for factors such as a decline in smoking rates (Lancet, 2002; 360: 1210-4).

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