Regulations designed to reduce air pollution in North Carolina have led not just to cleaner air but to fewer deaths from lung diseases, according to a new study report released Monday.
Researchers at Duke University reviewed 17 years of state air quality data and death records, and found a distinct correlation between the start of stricter pollution rules in 2002 and a marked decline in the number of people perishing from emphysema, asthma and pneumonia. The report was published in the International Journal of COPD.
The evidence pointing to the consequences of air pollution rules likely applies globally, the study’s head author said, adding that it puts into perspective the reason for tougher air quality rules: human health.
“If you ask people, ‘Should we improve air quality?’ it’s hard to get an handle on that,” said Kim Lyerly, a professor of surgery at Duke and the report’s senior author.