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Medical Costs of Air Pollution

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Over the past few decades, outdoor air quality in many US cities has improved as government controls have reduced emissions from industry, power plants and motor vehicles.  Still, levels of particulates, carbon monoxide, ozone and other pollutants are often too high in many areas.  Air pollution can be especially bad in large cities located in valleys which trap air pollution such as Los Angeles and Phoenix.

Many studies have shown that high levels of outdoor air pollution can increase risk of many health problems such as asthma, heart disease and strokes.  For a free review article on the health effects of outdoor air pollution (which I wrote), please contact me at

Air pollution also significantly increases hospital costs.  A recent study reported that air pollution in California alone results in at least $200 million a year in extra hospitalization costs.  This research was reported in the Sacramento Bee on March 2, 2010.

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