A new study of elderly Americans shows a strong link between air pollution and higher costs of medical care, both inpatient and outpatient, and especially for respiratory ailments.
Millions of Medicare records of whites between the ages of 65 and 84 from 1989 to 1991 provided a study sample for researchers Victor R. Fuchs, professor emeritus at Stanford University, and Sarah Rosen Franks, a doctoral student at the University of California, Berkeley. They write in the November/December issue of Health Affairs that in addition to improving health, less pollution can mean substantial cost savings.
"This study shows that use of medical care is significantly higher in areas with more pollution and that decreased use of care is an important benefit from pollution control," Fuchs and Franks report. "Pollution control," they say, "offers an important opportunity for further gains in health and reductions in medical care spending."
Jon Gardner | EurekAlert!
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