SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News)- A new study shows air pollution is very potent in destroying lung tissue and decreasing lung function. Comparing it to smoking a pack of cigarettes every day for 29 years.

The 18-year study shows that small increases in air pollution are associated with Emphysema. The study was conducted in six large U.S. cities from 2000 to 2018. (Salt Lake City was not part of the study)

The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. On Wednesday, the Board of Directors of the Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment (UPHE) will discuss the findings of the study.

Dr. Brian Moench, UPHE Founder and President says “Our summertime pollution is as potent in destroying lung tissue and lung function as smoking cigarettes.”

According to Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, “The study followed over 7000 people. The study subjects were about 60 years of age when they started the study and included smokers and non-smokers. People in the study had CT scans of their lungs and breathing tests performed intermittently over the 18 years. Air quality monitors provided as part of EPA monitoring were used to measure ground-level ozone, particulate matter PM 2.5, and oxides of nitrogen. Emphysema, a condition marked by the destruction of lung tissue, was assessed by CT scan.”

“This 18 year study of the effects of air pollution on lung function and development of emphysema found that a rise in ground-level ozone of as little as 3 parts per billion was associated with an increase in the development of emphysema in parts of the lung and a decline in lung function that is similar to smoking a pack of cigarettes a day for 29 years.”

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