Air pollution linked to preterm births, billion$ in healthcare costs

Ambient air pollution cost the United States $5.09 billion dollars in medical expenses and lost economic productivity related to preterm birth in 2010…

Of that total, $760 million was attributed to direct medical costs, according to Leonardo Trasande, MD, of NYU School of Medicine, and colleagues, writing in Environmental Health Perspectives.

Their study combined air pollution data from the…EPA with figures on preterm births from the Institute of Medicine…

This is the first study to estimate the burden of preterm birth and trace it to a particular environmental source,” he said. “Previous studies have taken small populations and found an association – what we did was look at it on a national scale and put a cost to society in terms of direct medical care of children who have preterm birth and associated medical conditions, but also loss of IQ and loss of economic productivity that can ultimately be traced to preterm birth.”

Specifically, Trasande’s team focused its research on fine particulate matter, which has been linked to preterm birth in prior studies. They found that 12% of births in the U.S. in 2010 were preterm, and estimated that 3.32% of all preterm births could be attributed to fine particulate matter…

Trasande said that while air pollution is a problem in the U.S., it is even worse in developing countries, so he would like to see these analyses repeated there.

How many years does it take for someone to get studies like these rolling. I grew up in a time and place in the United States when coal-powered industry was king. When you got up in the morning, opened your bedroom window for a breath of fresh air – and scraped the soot off the window sill so it wouldn’t blow into the room.

We knew damned well it wasn’t doing us any good. And no one in politics, in government, would speak up.

One thought on “Air pollution linked to preterm births, billion$ in healthcare costs

  1. Cassandra says:

    Tiny particles of pollution have been discovered inside samples of brain tissue, according to new research. Suspected of toxicity, the particles of iron oxide could conceivably contribute to diseases like Alzheimer’s – though evidence for this is lacking. (BBC) The finding – described as “dreadfully shocking” by the researchers – raises a host of new questions about the health risks of air pollution. Earlier this year the World Health Organisation warned that air pollution was leading to as many as three million premature deaths every year.

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