This Week's Herman Trend Alert

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  The Herman Trend Alert

September 4, 2019

Insidious Air Pollution

Lately, there has been much evidence about the far-reaching effects of climate change. This Herman Trend Alert simply provides more evidence of those effects. A recent study of air in cities around the globe has found that exposure to long-term air pollution may be as harmful to your lungs as smoking cigarettes.

Air Pollution is Responsible
The World Health Organization estimates that air pollution is linked to a whopping 7 million premature deaths around the world. At the same time in the United States, Chronic Respiratory Disease, including COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and Emphysema, is a leading cause of death.

A New Cause of Emphysema
Though for years, Emphysema has been considered a smoker's disease, it now appears that contact with air pollution leads to the same dangerous changes in lungs that lay the groundwork for this dreaded disease. According to a new study published in JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association), long-term exposure to just slightly elevated levels of air pollution can be linked to the faster development of lung damage---even among people who have never smoked.

Ground Level Ozone is the Real Culprit
Included in the study was a look at the health effects of inhaling various pollutants, including ground-level ozone. That ozone happens to be the main component of smog. People in the study who had had years of exposure to higher-than-average concentrations of ground-level ozone developed lung changes similar to those of smokers. The researchers found that a ground-level ozone increase of about three parts per billion outside of homes The researchers discovered that prolonged exposure was equivalent to smoking a pack of cigarettes a day for 29 years.

Worldwide Risks
The researchers determined people in communities all over the world may be exposed to similar ozone concentrations. Though those concentrations may vary from day to day, season to season and year to year. Generally, pollution that's released from cars' tailpipes and from smokestacks and then bakes in the sunlight creates ground level ozone. That is why we hear about Ozone Alerts on hot, sunny days.

The Implications of this Research
The current US administration's easing regulations on clean air and water is not having a positive effect on the people who live in the country; sadly, our children and grandchildren will be the true victims of the actions being taken now. Once widely known and accepted, this finding will have a negative effect on growth of certain cities---unless significant action is taken to alleviate the poor air quality.

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