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Vehicle exhaust kills more people than accidents

United States America,Health/Medicine, Fri, 20 Apr 2012 IANS

Washington, April 20 (IANS) Vehicular exhausts and emissions from planes and powerplants kill 13,000 people prematurely in the UK every year, says a study.




Researchers analyzed data from 2005, the most recent year for which information is available. They found that among the various sources of emissions in the country, car and truck exhaust was the single greatest contributor to premature death, affecting some 3,300 people per year.



By comparison, the researchers note, fewer than 3,000 Britons died in road accidents in 2005, the journal Environmental Science and Technology reports.



MIT researchers found that emissions originating elsewhere in Europe cause an additional 6,000 early deaths in the UK annually; UK emissions that migrate outside the country, in turn, cause 3,100 premature deaths per year in other European Union nations, according to an MIT statement.



In some areas on the periphery of the UK, such as northern Scotland, almost all air pollution comes from the rest of Europe, the researchers say.



MIT's Steven Barrett and co-author Steve Yim began the study in light of recent events in the UK: London is currently in violation of air quality standards set by the EU, and the British government may face significant EU fines if it fails to address its air pollution.



"We wanted to know if the responsibility to maintain air quality was matched by an ability to act or do something about it," says Barrett, assistant professor of aeronautics and astronautics at the MIT. "The results of the study indicate there is an asymmetry there."



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