News of the WeekAIR POLLUTION

Small Particles Add Up to Big Disease Risk

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Science  15 Mar 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5562, pp. 1994
DOI: 10.1126/science.295.5562.1994a

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A new study, the most extensive of its type, shows that long-term exposure to tiny particles of air pollution increases the risk of dying from heart or lung disease or lung cancer by about the same amount as long-term exposure to secondhand cigarette smoke. Although the mechanism by which the particles cause disease is still up for debate, the latest study supports existing U.S. air-quality standards that have been attacked by industry and state governments.