An important new report from American Lung Association, Clean Air Task Force and Earthjustice (originally the Sierra Club legal arm) has just been released: “SICK OF SOOT – How the EPA can save lives by cleaning up fine particle pollution.” This summarizes a large new study which calculates the health effects of fine particles in the US.
EPA is late in releasing its recommendations for new national particulate matter standards. The two large cohort studies which are relied upon by EPA to calculate the relationship between annual fine particle (PM2.5) levels and premature mortality suggest that between 140,000 and 360,000 US residents die prematurely each year as a result of uncontrolled man-made PM2.5 pollution. Total annual deaths in the US are a little under 2.5 million people. Thus this is a very serious matter of public health.
This sure makes you wonder just how clueless people are who want to continue to base urban transportation in the US on highways and diesel rail. It is long past time to make our cities the healthiest and most sustainable places on Earth. Light rail, walking and biking are exactly what we need most to help us progress!