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EPA’s Rules for Reducing Carbon Emissions Could Save 3,500 Lives Annually, Says University Study

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Improved air quality resulting from the Environmental Protection Agency’s recently proposed rules curbing carbon emissions from existing power plants could prevent some 3,500 premature deaths each year by 2020, says a new study by Harvard, Syracuse and Boston University scientists.  That’s equivalent to nine avoided deaths from air pollution daily, points out the press release from Harvard’s School of Public Health.

The study – Health Co-Benefits of Carbon Standards for Existing Power Plants – says emission reductions would also avoid approximately 1,000 hospital admissions from heart and lung problems and 220 heart attacks annually, as well as deliver reduced asthma symptoms and other health benefits.

Benefits for Low-Income Communities of Color
“Low-income communities of color will benefit greatly from implementation of EPA’s power plant standards, because residents of those communities suffer disproportionately from illnesses caused by air pollution that threaten quality of life and longevity,” commented Emerald Cities Collaborative President and CEO Denise Fairchild.

The press release explains that “co-benefits” in the study’s title refers to the researchers’ focus “on the added benefits of a carbon standard that come from reducing other harmful power plant emissions such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter. These pollutants are precursors to smog and soot that cause heart and lung disease, exacerbate asthma and contribute to premature death." 

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