Adults with long-term exposure to ozone face an increased risk of dying from respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, a new study suggests.
Using data from a large U.S. study begun in 1982, researchers found that every additional 10 parts per billion in long-term ozone exposure increased the risk of dying of lung disease by 12 percent; of cardiovascular disease by 3 percent; and of all causes by 2 percent.
“About 130 million people are living in areas that exceed the National Ambient Air Quality standard,” said Michael Jerrett, a co-author of the study and chair of environmental health sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. “While ozone has decreased in the U.S., the reductions are not nearly as big as decreases in other pollutants, and elsewhere in the world, ozone is a growing problem.”
Researchers found the association between ozone and mortality began at 35 parts per billion. They said that many communities have ozone levels higher than this, suggesting that further reductions in ozone would have immediate health benefits. Jerrett added that reducing ozone, a potent greenhouse gas, would also provide future health benefits by reducing climate change.