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Outdoor - the Effects of Air Pollution on Health

Outdoor - the Effects of Air Pollution on Health


It is estimated that around 38 billion dollars is spent each year to cover the health care cost and loss of productivity in relation to air-pollution-related respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses. It has been shown that air pollution is directly related to the number of admissions to hospital for respiratory illness.


The studies below show that air pollution is deleterious to our health:

1) 4000 people died of "killer smog" (containing Sulphur and suspended particulates) in London during 1952.
(Source: 1952 Air pollution disaster in London)
2) A study conducted by Harvard University showed that 5% of the mortality in the cities of USA is related to acidic suspended particulates.
(Source: American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine Feb. 1997)

3) According to a study conducted in New York, when comparing heavily polluted periods during summer and ordinary days, we know that:

  • 40 % more children had asthmatic attacks.
  • Elderly admission rate increased.
  • Number of patient attending Emergency Department was closely related to Ozone and suspended particulate level.
  • Ozone resulted in deterioration of lung function in children.

(Source: N. England J. Med. 1993 329:1753-1759)

4) The Chinese University of Hong Kong has conducted a study into the effect of air pollution on health of school children in Hong Kong during 1995-1997. It was shown that the risk of students contracting respiratory problems in heavily polluted areas like Kwun Tong was three times greater than those living in less polluted areas like Shatin.
(Source: The Effect of Air Pollution on Health of School Children in HK (CU Oct. 1997))