Study: reduced car smog will cut deaths, asthma

(May 16, 2011)

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May 13, 2011

Sometimes it's easy to forget what is at stake when it comes to lower exhaust emissions from cars. A new study from the American Lung Association in California drives the benefits home when it comes to medical care and illness.

By cleaning the air in that single state, California could avoid $7.2 billion a year in additional medical care costs, the study says.

Tougher 2017 air quality standards will reduce the air-pollution death toll by up to 420, meaning 8,440 fewer asthma attacks and up to 191,000 acute respiratory symptoms, the study says.

"Ninety percent of Californians live in areas with unhealthy air according to the American Lung Association State of the Air report," said Jane Warner, CEO of the American Lung Association in California. "Pollution from passenger cars and trucks is largely responsible for our dirty air and its huge health toll."

Tougher standards would achieve:

  • A 75% reduction in smog-forming emissions and place stringent controls on particle pollution from vehicles.
  • An overall 45% (6% per year) reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles.
  • A new car fleet mix that includes at least 20% zero-emission vehicles.