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Life Expectancy Has Increased With Drop in Air Pollutants

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Life Expectancy Has Increased With Drop in Air Pollutants

Drop in PM2.5 from 2000 to 2007 tied to improved life expectancy, especially in urban areas

TUESDAY, Dec. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Life expectancy has improved, particularly in urban and densely populated areas of the country, in response to reductions in ambient levels of fine particulate matter seen from 2000 to 2007, according to a study published in the January issue of Epidemiology.

Andrew W. Correia, from Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues studied the effects of reductions in fine particulate matter less than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5) on life expectancy in 545 counties in the United States between 2000 to 2007.

Across all counties studied during this period, the researchers found that the average increase in life expectancy was 0.84 years and the PM2.5 concentration decreased by 1.56 µg/m³. After controlling for demographic characteristics, socioeconomic status, and smoking prevalence, the average life expectancy increased by 0.35 years for every decrease of 10 µg/m³ in PM2.5. The association between fine particulate matter levels and life expectancy was even stronger in urban and densely populated regions of the country.

"In summary, our study reports strong evidence of an association between recent further reductions in fine particulate air pollution and improvements in life expectancy in the United States, especially in densely populated urban areas," the authors write.

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