By 2010, the Clean Air Act of 1970 involved the U.S. to scale back total emissions of six principal air pollutants by quite 41 percent. Recently the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enforces the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for those six general air pollutants: ground-level ozone, carbon monoxide gas, lead, sulfur dioxide, dioxide, and particulate (PM). Here, we took an in-depth check out one among those pollutants, PM.
Harvard researchers say the reduction in short-term manifestation to PM from coal-burning power plants could avoid 20,000 deaths a year (some sources say 30,000). All it might take, they stated, is to put in scrubbers on coal-burning power plants that don’t have them. We’re glad, however, that the EPA sets standards for various sorts of PM and monitors the air over the course of days, months, and years to make sure that safe levels are maintained. We just desire those standards were even stricter. Why? Here’s a multiple-choice quiz for all of you.
The health risks of particulate pollution:
Even at acceptable levels of PM pollution, there’s still a rising risk of which of the following?
- Kidney disease
- Early death thanks to heart and lung problems
- Loss of bone density
- Type 2 diabetes
- All of the above
If you guessed F. All of the above, you’re today’s winner.
A January 2017 study published in Translational Psychiatry suggests that manifestation of PM within the air triggers negative interactions with APOE alleles, a gene that shows a tendency for Alzheimer’s disease. These interactions can cause epigenetic changes which will contribute to the acceleration of brain aging and Alzheimer’s disease, especially in older women.
2. Kidney disease
It occurs when kidneys become damaged and can’t perform their function. Damage may be caused by diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. Reuters Health indicated in September 2017 that researchers at the St. Louis VA Health Care System found that even at the EPAs current standards, PM concentrations are related to a big risk of kidney disease. And, higher levels of PM were related to an incremented risk of end-stage renal disease.
3. An early death thanks to heart and lung problems
The EPA’s position: “Exposure can affect both your heart and lungs. Numerous scientific studies have connected particle pollution exposure to a spread of problems [including] ill-timed death in people with heart or lung disease.” Non-fatal heart attacks, irregular heartbeats, aggravated asthma, and overall reduced lung function round out the EPA list of problems due to PM.
4. Type 2 diabetes
In 2016, the publication, Diabetes, cited a German study that found that long-term exposure to PM pollution was directly associated with a rise in the number of individuals who developed insulin resistance. Again, exposure within EPA standards posed a small risk.
5. Loss of bone density
A November 2017 article published within the Lancet analyzed two independent studies on bone density loss. Both showed how the hazard of bone fractures and osteoporosis increased among the elderly living in areas with higher PM concentrations. Cities often have higher PM concentrations than suburban and rural areas. the tiny particles from PM permeate the lungs most insidiously in people living in cities, where populations were especially susceptible to osteoporosis-related injuries.
So what are you able to do? There’s no such thing as “clean coal,” and gas fracking sites release huge amounts of methane, which traps 20 to 25 times more heat than carbon dioxide—that’s really bad for air quality. the earlier we use non-polluting renewable energy sources, like solar, wind, and hydropower, and more scrubbers are on coal plants and fracking becomes cleaner, the earlier we will pack up the air and breathe easier. Because the American Lung Association puts it, “When you can’t breathe, nothing else matters.”