(NPR) — “We found that an increase of about three parts per billion [of ground-level ozone] outside your home was equivalent to smoking a pack of cigarettes a day for 29 years,” says a physician who was an author of the study.
Smog can spike during hot days. A new study finds that the effects of breathing air pollution may be cumulative. Long-term exposure may lead to lung disease, even among people who've never smoked.
A new study published Tuesday in JAMAfinds that long-term exposure to slightly elevated levels of air pollution can be linked to accelerated development of lung damage, even among people who have never smoked.
The researchers found that people in the study who were exposed for years to higher-than-average concentrations of ground-level ozone developed changes to their lungs similar to those seen in smokers.
The study involved nearly 7,000 adults living in six U.S. cities: Chicago, Los Angeles, Baltimore, St. Paul, Minn., New York City and Winston-Salem, N.C. Generally, people in the study were exposed to annual average concentrations of between 10 and 25 parts per billion of ground-level ozone outside their homes.