This story aired on NPR on June 28, 2017
"The air Americans breathe has been getting cleaner for decades.
'We are now providing bullet-proof evidence that we are breathing harmful air,' says Francesca Dominici, a professor of biostatistics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, who led the study. 'Our air is contaminated.'
Dominici and her colleagues set out to do the most comprehensive study to date assessing the toll that air pollution takes on American lives.
The researchers used data from federal air monitoring stations as well as satellites to compile a detailed picture of air pollution down to individual zip codes. They then analyzed the impact of very low levels of air pollution on mortality, using data from 60 million Medicare patients from 2000 to 2012.
About 12,000 lives could be saved each year, their analysis concludes, by cutting the level of fine particulate matter nationwide by just 1 microgram per cubic meter of air below current standards."
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