Harvard study links air pollution to increased risk of dying from COVID-19

The results of a new study by a team of scientists at Harvard suggest that “long-term exposure to air pollution increases vulnerability to experiencing the most severe COVID-19 outcomes.”

PM2.5 refers to tiny particles less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter, which can be formed during the combustion of fossil fuels. And as we’ve been saying here at Huntington CALM, gas-powered leaf blowers generate extreme levels of PM2.5 and other air pollutants, exposure to which has been known to increase mortality and other health problems.

But it gets worse! Another new study from a research team in Germany finds that exposure to nitrogen dioxide, another pollutant emitted by gas-powered leaf blowers, also increases risk of mortality due to COVID-19.

The study’s author, Yaron Ogen, writes that “the long-term exposure to this pollutant may be one of the most important contributors to fatality caused by the COVID-19 virus in these regions and maybe across the whole world.”

These and other studies strongly suggest that taking steps right now to reduce unnecessary air pollution could save lives, and therefore must be part of our concerted efforts to fight COVID-19 and protect our communities.

To read the Harvard paper on PM2.5, click here: https://projects.iq.harvard.edu/covid-pm

To read more about the study on nitrogen dioxide pollution, click here: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.138605

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