Living In China Takes 3.5 Years Off Your Life.
Researchers with the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) said average lifespans north of the Huai river, where China supplies mostly coal-fired winter heat, were 3.1 years lower than in the south, which is not covered by the state heating policy. EPIC’s study cites long-term smog exposure as a primary cause of the difference. In a statement, EPIC said its study examined pollution and mortality data in 154 cities from 2004 to 2012, and found higher death rates were due entirely to increases in cardiorespiratory illnesses. EPIC didn’t give an absolute number for average life expectancy, but said its study was the first to focus on differences in air quality north and south of the Huai river. “We know on highly polluted days more people die and more people are sick, but what this study helps to isolate are the consequences of long-run sustained exposure,” said Michael Greenstone, EPIC director and one of the report’s authors.
China is in the fourth year of a “war on pollution” designed to reverse the damage done by decades of untrammelled economic growth and allay concerns that hazardous smog and widespread water and soil contamination are causing hundreds of thousands of early deaths every year. Every 10 micrograms per cubic meter of additional long-term exposure to smog particles cuts life expectancy by 0.6 years, the study found. The government has acknowledged pollution is a health hazard but researchers have said more data was needed to understand its full effects, especially when it comes to the specific role it plays in diseases like lung cancer. Credit: David Stanway for Reuters 12 September 2017.
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