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Synopsis from Culture Unplugged:

During the last 100 years, the world has experienced an enormous growth, unequaled in the entire history of mankind. Production has increased more than 13 times, and this enormous step is linked to our capacity of exploiting the fossil fuels – coal and oil. In early industrialization, smoky chimneys, swinging cranes and burning melting furnace were potent symbols of power, optimism and money. But progress had its price. During the 20th century, millions of people die of lung cancer, heart and respiratory diseases – only due to the air pollution in the big cities all over the world.

From the New York Times:

Recent studies suggest that smog-filled air kills more people and causes more breathing problems than previously thought, U.S. EPA scientists say in a new draft paper, but due to a procedural twist, the findings can’t be taken into account as Administrator Lisa Jackson decides whether to set stricter limits than the George W. Bush administration chose in 2008.

The new research provides stronger evidence that short-term spikes in ground-level ozone can cause premature death, according to the 996-page scientific assessment, which was released late Friday. And on top of that, EPA scientists found evidence that long-term exposure could lead to more premature deaths — a conclusion that was not reached when the agency last reviewed the state of smog science in 2006.

It is well-established that ozone can have health effects at the current limit of 84 parts per billion (ppb), which still has not been met in parts of the Northeast, much of Southern California and industrial cities such as Houston. According to the assessment, recent studies found a robust link between health effects and smog levels below either the current limit or the standard of 75 ppb that was selected by the last administration.

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