Reducing pollution may lead to lower health care costs
According to a study released Wednesday in the Journal of Public Health, children who live close to major transportation routes have a higher risk of developing asthma.The study examined children in the Long Beach area of Los Angeles. Long Beach, and its neighbor San Pedro, are the busiest ports in the country - meaning that ships, trains and trucks have a constant presence.
"There is a substantial proportion of childhood asthma that may be caused by living within 81 yards of a major road in Long Beach," said researcher Rob McConnell to the Long Beach Press-Telegram. He added that road proximity has a "much larger impact ... on asthma related symptoms and health care use than previously appreciated."
Most of the port's toxic emissions are generated by ships, says the South Coast Air Quality Management District. Trucks account for 20 percent of pollution; lawn equipment and locomotives make up the rest.
Ship emissions are particularly harmful, the study reports: 1,400 cases of asthma-related bronchitis were caused by marine pollution. Ships, unlike most land vehicles, don't have to follow uniform emissions restrictions. As such, their nitrogen oxide emissions are high.
And health problems like asthma developed in childhood lead to higher health care costs throughout life: the AQMD estimates that 4,000 San Pedro-area residents die prematurely each year because of pollution.
Learn how easy and convenient shopping for health insurance can be. Get your free health insurance quotes today!
Posted: November 5, 2009
Related Health Insurance Articles
- Rate reviews added to House health insurance bill November 4, 2009
- Children without health insurance have greater risk of dying, study says November 2, 2009
- Pros, cons of health insurance reform for young people October 30, 2009
- Small businesses bear the brunt of insurance cost increases October 29, 2009
- Lower diabetes risk leads to lower health insurance costs October 21, 2009
- Attorney General: 'Smart Choices' not always the smartest October 19, 2009
- Law ensures uninterrupted health insurance for college students October 19, 2009
- Health insurance costs projected to rise in the coming years October 16, 2009
- Health insurance debate focusing more on well-being October 15, 2009
- Report stresses importance of health insurance earlier in life October 13, 2009
- Health insurance burden grows for many workers October 9, 2009