A US study by researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that death rates among people over 65 are higher in zip codes with more fine particulate air pollution (PM2.5) than in those with lower levels of PM2.5.
An article about the study, “Air pollution below EPA standards linked with higher death rates,” highlights that there is no safe level of exposure to fine particulates (PM2.5) and that our air quality standards are not strong enough as harm is occurring well under these levels (note that BC’s air quality objectives are better than the EPA standards in the US, but likely still not adequate given findings like those in the article).
This quote sums it up: “Particulate air pollution is like lead pollution, there is no evidence of a safe threshold even at levels far below current standards, including in the rural areas we investigated,” said Schwartz. “We need to focus on strategies that lower exposure everywhere and all the time, and not just in locations or on days with high particulate levels.”
Read the full article.