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Toronto Public Health: Cutting car emissions saves lives

Car traffic in Toronto [photo credit]

Everyone already knows that pollution isn’t good for our health, but it’s always good to see more and more reports about how cutting vehicle emissions will save lives.

The Toronto Star reported on a Toronto Public Health report last weekend:

A new study on the health effects of air pollution from traffic in Toronto says a 30 per cent reduction in vehicle emissions could save nearly 200 lives a year and $1 billion in health costs.

The Toronto Public Health report, to be released Monday, also estimates that “mortality-related” costs associated with traffic pollution in the city are about $2.2 billion annually. …

Authored by Dr. David McKeown, Toronto’s medical officer of health, the study claims this pollution contributes to about 440 premature deaths and 1,700 hospitalizations a year in Toronto.

While most cases involve the elderly, the pollution is also significantly affecting children, the report says, adding they experience 1,200 acute bronchitis episodes a year as a result, and 68,000 instances of asthma-related symptoms.

Now, a report in itself won’t do much. However, a report plus another report, plus higher gas prices, plus political will… will eventually translate into policies and programs that get more people carpooling, using public transit and cycling in our urban centres.

More from the Toronto Star
, and BlogTO also has good coverage of this, with a list of ways to make alternatives to using a car attractive.

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