Unhealthy air

Unhealthy air

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By Carmen García Mollón

The study Health Impacts of Air Pollution in France reflects a worrying result. The previous analysis that was based on data from 2000 and published in 2005 reported that there were 40,000 deaths, 8,000 fewer than the last study conducted with data from 2008.

Life expectancy decreases due to pollution. In large cities it is reduced by 15 months and in rural areas by 9 months. It is due to gases produced by nearby cities or industries and some agricultural methods. "It is one of the most novel aspects of this study," explains Sylvia Medina, coordinator of the French agency's air and health surveillance project.

France wants to put aside fossil fuels and bet on alternative energies. Heavy vehicles over 14 years old cannot circulate in Paris and diesel cars over twenty years old cannot enter the city during business hours. "The question now is whether we have to continue investing money in the development of diesel," says Matthias Müller, CEO of Volkswagen.

These results can also be applied to other countries. In the 2011 European analysis, there are Spanish cities such as Valencia, Seville, Barcelona and Granada that have more pollution than Paris. "The results show that the most ambitious pollution reduction scenarios achieve important health benefits," says the study by this agency registered with the Ministry of Health. "If all the municipalities were able to reduce fine particles to the same level as the less polluted populations, 34,000 deaths could be avoided each year, with a life expectancy gain of nine months," says Medina.

The solutions proposed by this analysis are: modifying the composition of fuels, imposing urban tolls, promoting bicycle use, reducing car use and reducing industrial emissions. The microparticles enter the respiratory system and from there to the blood; They can cause respiratory problems, cardiovascular diseases and cancer, especially lung. Taking care of the air also helps take care of our health.

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