Study: Smog You Breathe May Be Shortening Your Life

(NECN/KSL: Mike Anderson) - Pollution doesn't just hurt the Earth; it can also be very harmful to your health.

The smog you breathe may be shortening your life.

The Cache Valley often gets ranked among the worst in the nation, when it comes to air quality, and their type of pollution is somewhat unique.

"Cows and cars, I call it. Agricultural activity, producing lots of urea… which gets converted into ammonia gas…," says toxicology professor Roger Coulombe.

And that combination actually penetrates the lungs faster than most, according to Coulombe, a professor of toxicology at Utah State University.

"It appears that there's no safe level. In other words… with many toxicants… there's a threshold effect."

Coulombe says that's according to a five- to six-year study on the effects of air pollution on the lungs and other organs.

He says regardless of how you feel, asthma or not, those pollutants in the air could be taking days out of your life.

He believes multiple studies done worldwide support those same conclusions.

"The more we know that particulate air pollution…all cause mortality… diseases… shortened lifespan."

Coulombe says even a small difference in particulate matter levels can increase the health risk, but the good news is that the reverse is also true.

"The research shows that we'll see an immediate positive effect on human health, even with small reductions in pm 2.5."

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