FOSSIL FUELS impact on HUMAN HEALTH
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“Particulate matter air pollution is widely believed to be the most deadly form of air pollution. Its microscopic particles penetrate deep into the lungs and filter into the bloodstream. From there, they can eventually lead to lung disease, cancer, strokes or heart attacks. Most of this particulate pollutions comes from the combustion of fossil fuels – the same fossil fuels that contribute to climate change.”…“Thanks to a natural experiment set in China, Chen et al. (2013) and Ebenstein et al. (2017) estimated the causal relationship between long-term particulate air pollution exposure and life expectancy that applies to today’s high pollution settings. In China, citizens in the north experience higher levels of pollution in part because of a government policy … that gave those living north of the Huai River free coal to power boilers for heating. While the policy’s purpose was to provide warmth in the winter to those who needed it the most, it resulted in a high reliance on coal, and therefore significantly more particulate air pollution north of the river…The quasi-experiment showed that particulate air pollution was 46 percent higher north of the Huai River due to the … heavy burning of coal. After linking this pollution data to mortality data, the researchers found that those residing just to the north of the river lived 3.1 fewer years than those just to the south. Furthermore, elevated mortality was evident at all ages.”*
*Introducing the Air Quality Life Index, Twelve Facts about Particulate Air Pollution, Human Health, and Global Policy, Michael Greenstone and Claire Qing Fan, Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago