TAILIEUCHUNG - DEA Position Paper on Ambient Air Pollution and Health

It would be ideal, of course, if the emission of all pollutants could be reduced to zero, and the technology may indeed be available for doing so. However, the costs of doing this may be prohibitive in some cases. A balance must be found, therefore, between the amount of pollution control that society is both willing and able to pay for and the amount of environmental damage resulting from pollution. Since there are no straightforward measures of the costs associated with environmental damage, the approach to finding a realistic balance involves a great deal of argument. Unquestionably, the regulation of emissions has brought about a significant improvement. | DEA Position Paper on Ambient Air Pollution and Health Summary Globally air pollution is an increasingly important public health problem Nationally ambient outdoor air pollution contributes significantly to morbidity and mortality Reductions in fossil fuel combustion to mitigate climate change have the potential to also benefit health by reducing concentrations of air pollutants which contribute to respiratory and cardiovascular disease and premature mortality Background Air pollution is a complex chemical mixture comprising a number of different key pollutants. These pollutants have a complex relationship with each other and with the climate. Climate change is expected to cause a decline in air quality1 2 By 2050 outdoor air pollution is projected to become the major cause of environmentally related deaths Ambient pollution in Australia derives primarily from motor vehicle emissions electricity generation from fossil fuels heavy industry and home heating using wood and 4 Common ambient air pollutants include particulate matter of varying size PM ground-level ozone oxides of nitrogen NOx carbon monoxide CO and sulphur dioxide SO2 .2 4 6 In Australia it is estimated there are approximately 3000 deaths due to urban air pollution annually - more than the national road There is an extensive international body of literature on the health impacts of air pollution reporting a wide range of adverse health outcomes including exacerbation of chronic respiratory and cardiovascular disease and premature mortality. Air pollution worsens asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and can increase the risk of cardiac arrhythmia heart attack stroke and lung cancer and hinders lung development. This translates to increases in emergency department presentations and hospital admissions as well as deaths 4 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Health effects occur even at exposure levels below current air quality guidelines and for many pollutants it is .

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