2009 - Research

Fine Particulate Air Pollution and Life Expectancy in the United States

Exposure to fine-particulate air pollution has been associated with increased morbidity and mortality, suggesting that sustained reductions in pollution exposure should result in improved life expectancy.

  • This study directly evaluates the changes in life expectancy associated with differential changes in fine particulate air pollution that occurred in the United States during the 1980s and 1990s.
  • Results demonstrate a decrease in the concentration of fine particulate matter with an increase in mean life expectancy. It is estimated that reductions in air pollution accounts for as much as 15% of the overall increase in life expectancy in the study areas.

Pope, Arden C. III, Ezzati, Majid and Dockery, Douglas W. “Fine Particulate Air Pollution and Life Expectancy in the United States.” The New England Journal of Medicine. 360.4 (2009): 376-386.