Thursday, August 14, 2008

CMA Report: Poor Air Quality Killing Canadians

An important announcement by the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) announced yesterday that will cause the death of approximately 700,000 Canadians over the next two decades.

In 2008 Alone:

21,000 Canadians will die from the effects of air pollution

80% of those who die due to air pollution will be over the age of 65

25 Canadians under the age of 19 will die from the effects of short-term exposure to air pollution

Their report entitled,No Breathing Room: National Illness Costs of Air Pollution, points to ozone and particulate matter as the two major pollutants that will contribute to these deaths.

DEATHS. And not just deaths for the elderly, as if that weren’t newsworthy, but deaths for otherwise perfectly healthy 19-year-olds.

Combine this CMA announcement, with the air quality buzz that has been generated at this year’s Olympics, and the question that demands to be asked remains: why aren’t air purifiers a standard in every home?

Let’s face it, with 21,000 reasons this year alone, there’s a definite need for these products. And what about all the other people who, according to the CMA, will develop heart and lung illnesses brought on by breathing polluted air— who don’t die?

Still not enough reason? What about 10 billion others. The CMA estimates “the costs of dirty air, in terms of treating the illnesses in hospital and visits to the doctors, as well as indirect expenses for time off work, will add up to $10 billion this year.”

We’re quick to point the finger at others, saying the state of air quality in Beijing is a danger to our athletes, our spectators, and to the Chinese themselves. But far too few are taking the next logical step, and asking, demanding, that North American air quality be improved.

People are encouraged, prompted, reminded to go “green”— but are we really willing to stake our health on the proactive approach of others to saving our planet?

We’re simply not.

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