Sunday, April 27, 2008

Brief ozone exposure linked to premature death

Environment News Service: Exposures of less than 24 hours to current levels of ground-level ozone in many areas are likely to contribute to premature deaths, finds a new National Research Council report.

Ozone, a key component of smog, can cause respiratory problems and other health effects. In addition, evidence of a relationship between exposures of less than 24 hours and mortality has been mounting, but interpretations of the evidence have differed, prompting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, to request the Research Council report.

The committee that wrote the report was not asked to consider how evidence has been used by the EPA to set ozone standards, including the new public health standard set by the agency last month.

But the evidence is strong enough that the EPA should include ozone-related mortality in health-benefit analyses related to future ozone standards, says the committee, which is chaired by John C. Bailar III, professor emeritus, Department of Health Studies at the University of Chicago

Smog in New York City in 1988, by Dr. Edwin P. Ewing, Jr., Wikimedia Commons

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