Do New Health Conditions Support Mortality-Air Pollution Effects?

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Economics (CMC)

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Epidemiological research underlying US air quality regulations documents significant associations between measures of fine particles and premature mortality. Recent studies examine potential mechanistic pathways, related to heart and lung functioning, that may contribute to the observed deaths. Our results support these pathophysiological analyses. We examine whether the onset of serious health conditions, consistent with disease pathways, is related to current and long-term exposure to particulate matter and ozone. Associations between air pollution and alternative indicators of health status are also evaluated. The 1996 wave of the Health and Retirement Study is used with a two-step estimator acknowledging limitations in our ability to measure individual exposures. The findings suggest significant current and long-term effects of particulates on new cases of heart attacks and angina, reinforcing the disease pathways identified in epidemiological studies. Long-term air pollution exposure is also a determinant of recently diagnosed chronic lung conditions and reports of shortness of breath.

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© 2005 Elsevier

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