Evidence that Civic Action to Clean the Air Saves Lives – Dr. Ted Boadway, Ontario Medical Association

In his keynote address at the Southwestern Ontario Clean Air Summit May 21, 2009 (organized by the Clean Air Partnership (CAP)) Dr. Ted Boadway, Ontario Medical Association, articulates the seriousness and the detrimental health effects due to air pollution in a simplified way, explains the Illness Cost of Air Pollution program (ICAP) and discusses how civic action helps prevent illness.

The 30-minute presentation video is edited to show the presentation slides (PDF version).

  • Deaths and significant health effects of air pollution have been scientifically documented since the 1950s.
  • It is only in the last 10 years however that the physiological processes and effects have been better understood and quantified. The pollutants of greatest heath concern are NOx, SOx, VOCs which give rise to ozone, and particulate matter (PM). PM can cause inflammation, and PM 0.1 is the greater health concern.

  • Individually, high levels of ozone in the summer affect breathing, called a subclinical effect; higher ozone concentrations can cause death in those with respiratory illnesses.
  • Collectively, high levels of ozone result in thousands of admissions to hospital (4% increase for every 30 ppb rise – can climb to 16%/120 ppb in summer).
  • Air pollution can harden arteries by irreversibly changing DNA. In fact, PM 0.1 and OLP (‘bad’ cholesterol) are synergistic in harm (1+1 = 3).
  • ICAP (Illness Cost of Air Pollution) is used to calculate costs of air pollution on healthcare system with census data, air quality and CIHI (hospital) data. Studies now completed for every Canadian province.
  • Studies show reductions in air pollution increases life expectancy significantly.
  • It makes more sense to deal with the cause of the problem (air pollution) than it does to treat the health effects due to air pollution. Civic action can make huge gains in reducing air pollution and can save lives and health care costs.
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Ted Boadway Ontario Medical Association SWO CAS May 21 2009.pdf427.98 KB

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