Retirement age gets higher your life expectancy shorter!

The UK Government has just announced that a planned increase to 68, due to happen between 2044 and 2046, will now take place between 2037 and 2039.  Teenagers and those in their twenties can expect to work to age 70 as the state pension age rises to cope with an ageing population and longer lifespans. But does our life expectation really still increase?

Air pollution exposure has been long associated with an increase in mortality rates, but few studies have focused on how it can affect a person’s lifespan. A new study in the August issue of Ecological Indicators shows that, on average, an increase in concentration of pollution particles in the air of 10 micrograms per cubic meter could cut your life expectancy by between 9 and 11 years.

The author of the study, Prof. Mikael Skou Andersen of Aarhus University in Denmark, was attempting to calculate the effects of air pollution on the economy, as he argues governments won’t act on the problem of air quality seriously until the economic benefit of reducing air pollution will be determined.

“The existing literature is ambiguous and there are differences in the approaches adopted in EU and USA for how to account for such costs,” commented Prof. Andersen. “People are willing to pay a price to reduce risks for dying prematurely, provided we have an understanding of the implications and magnitudes of such risks.”

Europe estimates the change in life expectancy due to air pollution assuming that most victims are in their 70s and 80s, so that it only sees them lose one of two years of life, which makes not much financial consequence. In the USA the cost of losing someone to air pollution is three times higher than in EU, estimated to be worth $7.4 million.

“There is concern about air pollution and its health impacts, more so following ‘diesel-gate’,” said Prof. Andersen. “But many European countries are unable to meet the air pollution standards they have agreed to in the European Union. We need to understand the true impact of long-term exposure to air pollution to develop better informed policies and reduce fossil fuel consumption.”

One more study, recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine , found that increasing air pollution was strongly associated with increasing deaths. This study claims that there are no “safe” levels of air pollutants, even the exposure to levels of particulate matter and ozone below the National Ambient Air Quality Standards increases death rates.

This research was one of the largest air pollution studies with more than a 60 million senior citizens participating. It found that for every 10 micrograms of small particulate matter per cubic meter of air, the chances of premature death for any reason among seniors would rise by 7.3 percent. Also the study indicates that men, African-Americans, those with disabilities and seniors with low incomes are at the higher risk for premature death from exposure to air pollution.

“This is a study of unprecedented statistical power because of the massive size of the study population,” said principal investigator of the study Francesca Dominici. “These findings suggest that lowering the [National Ambient Air Quality Standards] for fine particulate matter will produce important public health benefits, especially among self-identified racial minorities and people with low incomes.”

“This study shows that although we think air quality in the United States is good enough to protect our citizens, in fact we need to lower pollution levels even further,” says senior author of the study Joel Schwartz.

It is important to take initial steps to reduce air pollution without delay. The current findings add to a large body of evidence documenting that millions of deaths every year are a result of air pollution exposure. According to the World Health Organization reports, in 2012 alone, about 7 million people worldwide died as a result of exposure to polluted air, which is about one in eight of total global deaths.

4 replies
  1. Smithb980
    Smithb980 says:

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