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"We found that the mortality rate increases almost linearly as air pollution increases. Any level of air pollution, no matter how low, is harmful to human health," coauthor Francesca Dominici said in a statement.
A few subgroups were especially affected. For Medicaid recipients, the mortality increase was three times higher than those not eligible for the low-income-based health program. Furthermore, women and nonwhites had a 25 percent higher chance of death, compared to males and whites.
Scientists are now hoping officials will use their findings to enforce pollution laws and implement newer ones. They also believe the Environmental Protection Agency should re-evaluate the daily National Ambient Air Quality Standards.
“No matter where you live—in cities, in the suburbs, or in rural areas,” the authors wrote, “as long as you breathe air pollution, you are at risk.”
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