National and state air pollution controls that went into effect in the early 1990s coincide with decreasing death rates from emphysema, asthma, and pneumonia among people in North Carolina, according to a study led by Duke University researchers.
Using mortality trends from state public health data, along with monthly measurements from air-monitoring stations across North Carolina from 1993-2010, the researchers were able to draw a close association between improved air quality and declining death rates from respiratory illnesses.
“This research tends to show that environmental policies work, if the goal of those policies is not only to improve the environment, but also to improve health,” said H. Kim Lyerly, MD, professor of surgery, associate professor of pathology and assistant professor of immunology at Duke. Lyerly is senior author of the study published online in the International Journal of COPD.
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