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Stricter Air Pollution Standards Could Save Thousands Annually: Study

Cities at the top of the list are the ones in which reductions in pollution would have the highest impact

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    Downtown highrise buildings are shown cloaked in dirty air shortly after sunrise in Los Angeles, California. Although air quality in Los Angeles has improved in recent decades, a study found that residents there would benefit more than any other city in the US from stricter pollution control.

    If air pollution standards were tightened just a little bit, thousands of lives might be saved each year in Los Angeles and other cities across the country, a new study suggests.

    Researchers, who published their findings in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society, parsed city data and found that Los Angeles could save the greatest amount of lives with stricter pollution control.

    Overall, the team found that 9,320 lives might be saved annually by reducing of two types of air pollution — ozone and fine particulate matter — to levels below what the Environmental Protection Agency currently requires. In addition, 21,400 serious health conditions, such as non-fatal heart attacks, might also be avoided, according to the study.

    Cities at the top of the list are the ones in which reductions in pollution would have the highest impact, explained the study's lead author, Kevin Comar, director of the air quality program at the Marron Institute of Urban Management at New York University. Comar's group collaborated with The American Thoracic Society in analyzing the data.