‘Revolutionary’ study showed air pollution’s dangers

A new book on air pollution devotes an entire chapter to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Six Cities City, which helped pave the way for strengthened U.S. regulations on fine particulate matter.

The book, Gary Fuller’s “The Invisible Killer,” was one of several new books on pollution discussed in an article in the September 26, 2019 issue of The New York Review of Books.

The Six Cities Study, led by Douglas Dockery, John L. Loeb and Frances Lehman Loeb Research Professor of Environmental Epidemiology at Harvard Chan School, analyzed the health effects of air pollution on more than 8,000 adults and 14,000 children over 14 to 16 years. Participants were randomly selected from three more polluted and three less polluted U.S. cities. The study found that adult residents of the dirtiest cities were dying, on average, two to three years earlier than their counterparts in cleaner cities. The premature deaths were strongly linked with the presence of particulate matter in the air, even when particulate levels were within federal air quality standards.

Fuller called Dockery’s findings “revolutionary,” according to the article. The article also noted that the Six Cities Study and other analyses helped cement the finding that there is no safe level of exposure to fine particulate matter.

Read the New York Review of Books article: Our Lethal Air

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