Last updated on Jul 7th, 2020 at 02:05 pm

Research has found that reducing air pollution dramatically improves people’s health.

This is according to the Environmental Committee of the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) review of these air pollution-reducing interventions:

Smoking ban improves the health of non-smokers

During week one of a ban on smoking in Ireland, there was a 13 percent drop in all-cause mortality, a 26 percent reduction in ischemic heart disease, a 32 percent reduction in stroke, and a 38 percent reduction in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Interestingly, the greatest benefits, in that case, occurred among non-smokers.

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Closure of a steel mill boosts health of surrounding population

In the United States, a 13-month closure of a steel mill in Utah resulted in reducing hospitalisations for pneumonia, pleurisy, bronchitis and asthma by half.

School absenteeism decreased by 40 percent, and daily mortality fell by 16 percent for every 100 ?g/m3 PM10 (a pollutant) decrease.

Women who were pregnant during the mill closing were less likely to have premature births.

Reducing road traffic reduces asthma attacks

A 17-day “transportation strategy,” in Atlanta, Georgia during the 1996 Olympic Games involved closing parts of the city to help athletes make it to their events on time, but also greatly decreased air pollution.

In the following four weeks, children’s visits for asthma to clinics dropped by more than 40 percent, trips to emergency departments by 11 percent and hospitalizations for asthma decreased by 19 percent.

Similarly, when China imposed factory and travel restrictions for the Beijing Olympics, lung function improved within two months, with fewer asthma-related physician visits and less cardiovascular mortality.

Air pollution can be as bad as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day

Indoor air pollution counts too

Reducing air pollution within the home also led to health benefits.

In Nigeria, families who had clean cookstoves that reduced indoor air pollution during a nine-month pregnancy term saw higher birth weights, greater gestational age at delivery, and less perinatal mortality.

“We knew there were benefits from pollution control, but the magnitude and relatively short time duration to accomplish them were impressive,” says the lead author of the report, Dr Dean Schraufnagel, ATSF.

“Our findings indicate almost immediate and substantial effects on health outcomes followed reduced exposure to air pollution. It’s critical that governments adopt and enforce WHO guidelines for air pollution immediately.”

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Source: American Thoracic Society via

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.