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Groundbreaking air pollution study marks 30 years

Summary

The Harvard Six Cities Study, a groundbreaking air pollution study, celebrated its 30th anniversary in December, leaving a lasting impact on U.S. air pollution control efforts. Conducted by Harvard researchers, including lead author Douglas Dockery, the study followed over 8,000 adults in six U.S. cities with varying air pollution levels. The research revealed that fine particulate pollution, specifically PM2.5, was linked to higher mortality rates at lower levels than previously understood. Despite opposition from industries dependent on fossil fuels, the study's findings, confirming a 26% difference in survival between the least-polluted and most-polluted cities, led to stricter air pollution guidelines. The study's legacy has been reinforced by subsequent research, contributing to estimates of saving thousands of lives annually through improved air quality regulations.

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