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New Duke Study Finds that Reducing Air Pollution Saves Lives

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


Want the secret to a longer life?  It may be as simple as breathing – not meditation, but the quality of the air you breathe.

Researchers at Duke University’s Nicholas School for the Environment and the Duke Cancer Center recently reported in a study that state and federal air pollution controls resulted in fewer emergency room visits for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma and emphysema.

The report, published in the International Journal of COPD in June, analyzed North Carolina air pollution records from 1993 to 2010 for trends in hazardous air pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide and particulate matters. The researchers then matched the data with death files and emergency room visits from respiratory illnesses. They found “significant associations” between improved air quality and decreased asthma and emphysema deaths.

The Raleigh News & Observer reported that state officials can point to the study as evidence that the state Clean Smokestacks Act and the federal Clean Air Act made a positive impact on public health. 

So the next time you’re stressed, stop, breathe and be grateful for federal and state laws that protect your lungs.


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