A new study suggests that dirty air can kill more people than car crashes.
Researchers at California State University-Fullerton say lowering air pollution in Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley would save more lives annually than ending all motor vehicle fatalities in the two regions.
The study notes the California Highway Patrol recorded about 2,500 vehicular deaths in the San Joaquin Valley and South Coast Air Basin in 2006. That compares to about 3,800 deaths attributed to respiratory illness caused by particulate pollution.
The study examined the costs of air pollution in two areas with the worst levels in the country. It suggests meeting federal ozone and fine particulate standards could save $28 billion annually in health care costs, school absences, missed work and lost income potential from premature deaths.