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Smog Can Claim More Lives Than Car Crashes

Cars can be deadly in California, but not in the way you expect. Air pollution leads to more deaths than car accidents in two California regions. In addition to saving lives, bringing air pollution up to standards would save $28 billion each year in health care costs, missed work, and a loss of salary due to early death, according to a new study.

Despite what this depressing reality may suggest, California hasn't been sleeping at the environmental wheel. The state has plans to display global warming ranking stickers on every new car, and California was one of seven states to join four Canadian provinces in agreeing to cut greenhouse gas emissions even absent of federal action. News about smog related deaths makes California's maverick environmental policies seem more like a necessity, than a luxury.


Join The Conversation
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
We could start now. OK Everyone in the large urban areas, like LA, New York, Chicago, start walking. That would decrease the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere by about 30%.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
it's insane if you think about things like this - when it's things that WE do to the environment that could harm us more than the accidents that you hear about. ugh! i wish that we could just turn back the clock and be more proactive.
True-Song True-Song 8 years
Smoking is bad for you? Ya got some PROOF?
hithatsmybike hithatsmybike 8 years
yeah wtf is with multiple people saying "smog = death is a stretch" I thought it was common knowledge that inhaling particulate gases was bad for your health and resulted in death? Like for example oh I don't know SMOKING
True-Song True-Song 8 years
Liberty, can we just retire the word "maverick" entirely? And I do not get the resistance to anything that helps the environment. "I'm gonna need to see proof that brown air bad for me. I think you're tryin' to pull a fast one here, lady!"
PiNkY-PiNk PiNkY-PiNk 8 years
I was just in la today and the sky was horrible! but its also like that today in oc cuz of the wildfires.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
Yet another reason why I like where I'm living, in America's heartland.
Meike Meike 8 years
Any improvement on lowering smog levels is a good thing anywhere on the planet. Yeah, it sucks Beijing and other big cities in China are smog deathtraps but we don't need to follow in their footsteps to actually see what is happening to their citizens happen to ours. As far as the city with the worst air quality that I've yet to experience, it would have to be Monte Carlo, Monaco. It was just migraine-inducing. The cities with the best air quality that I've experienced are cities in Washington State and Oregon and cities in Western and Southern Germany.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
Prior to my birth in 70 my father drove a city bus in the 60's around metropolitan Los Angeles and during the 70', 80's and early 90's drove 18 wheelers. I do believe that environmental pollution was the cause of what was IMO an early death for him at the age of 70. My father was always active, happy and seemingly healthy. Then all of a sudden he had respiratory difficulties which required him to periodically use an oxygen tank. The curious thing is the Dr.'s could not put their finger on what exactly was wrong with him until the day he died when they settled on pulmonary fibrosis. Pollution is no joke we really need to continue curbing our exuast into the environment. Los Angeles has come a long way in environmental planning and their plans for the future look great.
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 8 years
Stephley- how do I make the little praise smiley?! It's always galled me, like, okay you have deemed that there isn't sufficient scientific evidence to be positive. Great, so can we try to fix the problem anyway just in case you're wrong? When I lived in LA for a year, I started developing bizarre nausea, to the point where I occasionally missed work. I went to the doctor, and the first thing she asked me was how close to the highway I lived, and that people new to the area can have a hard time adjusting to pollution levels. I'm positive it was an environmental reaction I was having, but I can't know for sure whether it was something in my apartment or the air. For those who oppose any environmental efforts on principle, at least pretend you do it for national security. Fine, don't believe or care that it affects peoples' health, or god forbid, the earth itself, but because it's bad to rely on foreign oil. Any improvement in public transit could help reduce both the smog and our dependence on foreign oil. And curbing car emissions? Is hardly a radical thing to do when half the days you can't see the mountains because of the smog. I just don't get how some people have a negative gut reaction to ANYTHING involving the environment!
hithatsmybike hithatsmybike 8 years
Kranky, smog is a ground-level ozone. Ozone is an oxidizing agent. Oxidizing agents cause damage to DNA. Damaged DNA often results in cancer. This has been established scientifically. Ground-level ozone as a potential carcinogen doesn't get a lot of attention because most concerns about ozone's role in cancer surround the loss of ozone in the stratosphere, which results in harmful UV getting through to cause skin cancer. Smog has been cited as the cause of death for over a century. It's not new, and people in denial of it are just lacking knowledge of the facts or understanding of the chemistry.
stephley stephley 8 years
While you wait for perfect, universally accepted science - which considering the flat earth example seems impossible - people get sick, become disabled and die. I always prefer to spend the money to save a life than save a buck while people die. The worst that can happen is we have clean air, healthier people and a little less spending money.
kranky kranky 8 years
"Smog is cancer-causing poison" This has not been established scientifically to my knowledge.
hithatsmybike hithatsmybike 8 years
"Smog=Death- That seems like a stretch." It's not, unfortunately. Smog is cancer-causing poison; it's pretty rough on your body.
kranky kranky 8 years
roar- I totally agree with the caveat that we acknowledge our gaps in understanding and pass policy that balances environmental concerns and those of our already fragile economy.
kranky kranky 8 years
steph- I think you comment very nicely shows my reservation: "Studies that show POSSIBLE links..." There have been also numerous studies out recently that indicate a lot of allergies and asthma problems are the immue system freaking out because it has nothing to fight germ-wise. I absolutely think we should work on this issue, as I stated in post #4. (Thus my love-hate relationship with enviros... I ahte it that we have to spend money on their programs, but do concede that they have done good for us.) My point is that I am very skeptical about passing MAJOR policy based on hunches, that's all. I've heard it called 'the precautionary principle,' meaning we pass policy based on 'maybes' that end up creating even more problems.
StolzeMama StolzeMama 8 years
i live in the central valley in california. The air here rivals LA's bad air. But in a different way. It's because we have agricultural particulate in the air, but almost every kid I know has respiratory issues/ asthma. People that move here from out of town laugh that they never knew we had mountains on both sides of us, cause you can't see them most days. And the mountains to our east are only 10 or so miles away. We can usually only see them clearly after a good rain. It is also so hard here in the valley because we get the air from the bay area (san francisco) and la that tunnels through the mountains and settles in the valley. And due to the inversion layer that occurs over the valley, the smog cannot escape. Businesses here in the valley are subject to stricter smog regulations then the northern parts of the state which is unfair as their smog funnels right down to us.
Roarman Roarman 8 years
"That trip did begin my love-hate relationship with environmentalists. Clearly, they have done a lot of good for our country. But I wonder how the US is supposed to clean up the environment when places like China are spewing pollution all over the place?" It's unfortunate that many nations aren't working towards cleaner air but we shouldn't wait on them to get things started in this country. We are far from being where we should be in terms of taking care of the environment. Many countries are setting deadlines to clean up emissions. I don't much care for the extreme environmentalists, but the overall message that this is our only earth and it isn't going to take this abuse forever should be one we all heed.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
Smog=Death- That seems like a stretch.
stephley stephley 8 years
Studies on possible links between smog and lung cancer date back to at least the early 80s, and that's a conservative guess on my part. There still are people who claim the earth is flat: so we can work on an issue, or we can wait for conclusive proof - which would be what, a sign in the sky? How many people die until that happens?
kranky kranky 8 years
stephley - good to know about the leaves in CA. I read the article, but didn't see any information about the studies that lead to the conclusions. It seems reasonable to say that pollution can lead to respiratory problems which lead to death, but it was also reasonable to assume that the earth was flat at one point in history. I am not at all saying that you or the people who wrote the article are ignorant, but I would like to see more information about the studies. I have family members in the medical field, and they have told me that it is very difficult to establish a direct cause of many diseases (excepting virus, etc.). The human body is very complex, as is it's reaction to it's environment.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
The air is pretty nice where I live in California :)
kranky kranky 8 years
Yeah - sounds about right. That trip did begin my love-hate relationship with environmentalists. Clearly, they have done a lot of good for our country. But I wonder how the US is supposed to clean up the environment when places like China are spewing pollution all over the place?
stephley stephley 8 years
"Studies have indicated a relationship between ozone and particulate pollution and asthma and other respiratory problems, including chronic bronchitis. They also have connected particulate pollution with an increase in cardiovascular problems." Smog contributes to an increase in bronchial infections that can lead to death. And no, the leaves in California are not covered in brown dust. It still can be quite lovely here.
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