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expert reaction to air pollution and risk of death

Researchers, publishing in JAMA, estimate the association between short-term exposures to air pollution and ozone, and at levels below the current daily National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), and mortality in the continental US.


Prof. Roy Harrison FRS, Professor of Environmental Health at the University of Birmingham, said:

“This is robust research from Harvard University which shows associations between exposure both to airborne particles and ozone and daily mortality in older people at concentrations prevailing in the United States, which are broadly similar to those experienced in the U.K.  By studying a huge population, the investigators were able to see associations with very high precision and at concentrations lower than in earlier studies, and well below the ambient air quality standards used as targets in the US and Europe.

“This is further confirmation that the air quality standards are not no-effect levels, and the authors suggest that a re-evaluation may be needed.  The clear message is that driving down air pollution levels further will have considerable benefits for public health.”


* ‘Association of Short-term Exposure to Air Pollution With Mortality in Older Adults’ by Qian Di et al. published in JAMA on Tuesday 26 December 2017.


Declared interests

Prof. Roy Harrison: “I am an Honorary Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health and an Honorary Member of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, both of which campaign for cleaner air.  This University has research contracts with Jaguar Land Rover and I am a partner in a bid to Innovate UK led by JLR to develop cleaner vehicles.”

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