Vehicle Pollution Leads to Thousands of Early Deaths and Costs Billions in Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, Study Says

It’s well documented that ozone and fine particulate matter from vehicle emissions have a wide range of negative health effects. Greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles are also one of the biggest contributors to global warming, according to the EPA.

The study published Tuesday not only quantified the effects in terms of people and dollars but also showed that the pollution can travel downwind and cross state lines.

“What makes this study different from previous studies is that it connects the dots between where the pollution happens, and where the premature deaths occur,” Saravanan Arunachalam, a study author and deputy director of the University of North Carolina Institute for the Environment, said in the news release.

In Washington D.C., for example, 85% of the deaths were from vehicle emissions produced outside of the district, with Virginia being the largest contributor. That number is 84% in Delaware, with the bulk attributed to emissions from Pennsylvania, and 82% in Vermont, where emissions from New York were found to be the largest contributor.

The researchers also analyzed which type of vehicle contributed to the most deaths. They found the results varied across the region.

“While particulate matter from New York City buses has the largest impact per ton of emissions in New York, in Massachusetts it’s heavy-duty trucks in Boston, and in Virginia it is light-duty autos,” Jonathan Buonocore, one of the study authors and a research scientist at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said in a news release.

The research is part of a multi-university initiative called the Transportation, Equity, Climate and Health Project.

It comes as economies around the world, including the United States, look to decrease pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

“As policymakers consider how to transform the transportation sector – the largest source of carbon pollution – this research offers a roadmap for where to target investments to most cost-effectively improve air quality and health,” Buonocore said.

Pollution from vehicle emissions caused thousands of premature deaths and led to billions of dollars in health care costs in a single year in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic, even affecting those who don’t live near the source, according to a new study.

The research, published Tuesday in the journal Environmental Research Letters, estimated that 7,100 premature deaths in 2016 were connected to vehicle pollution in 12 states and the District of Columbia.

Premature deaths are those that occur before the average age of death, which in the U.S. is about 75 years old.

The highest number from the study was in New York, where 2,024 premature deaths were blamed on vehicle pollution during the study period, according to a news release. Pennsylvania was second with 1,270 and New Jersey was third with 1,175.

Those three states incurred health damages costing $21 billion, $13 billion and $12 billion, respectively.

Data from 2016 was examined because it was the most recent year available from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Vehicle Pollution Leads to Thousands of Early Deaths and Costs Billions in Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, Study Says | The Weather Channel – Articles from The Weather Channel |

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