MIT Report Finds Maryland Has Highest Rate of Air Pollution Deaths

A September 12 Cecil Whig article reports on the findings of a Massachusetts Institutes of Technology study that was released in August.  The study ranked Maryland #1 among the states for premature deaths (an average of 10 years earlier than expected) due to air pollution and poor air quality.  The study was based on air pollution emissions data from 2005 (the most recent statistics available at the time of the study).  From the article:

In a study released in late August, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that emissions from cars, trucks, industrial smokestacks, trains, boats, and commercial heating systems contribute to the death of 113 people per 100,000 population per year in Maryland — more than any other state.

The problem is particularly acute in Baltimore, which boasts the highest emissions-related mortality rate of large cities in the country, according to the study. Of every 100,000 residents in the city, the study found that 130 were likely to die prematurely each year of causes related to air pollution, more than in New York City, Los Angeles, and the entire Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.  …

Other cities in Maryland fared even worse than Baltimore, according to the study. Frederick, Reisterstown, and Montgomery Village all have rates close to Baltimore’s, while Magnolia — a small town in northeastern Maryland — leads the state with an emissions-related mortality rate of 140 deaths per 100,000 people per year.

In the article, state environmental officials note that the study does not include the effects of the Maryland Healthy Air Act and the Clean Cars Program as these were initiated after 2005.  The article also notes emissions from other states are part of Maryland’s problem:

Emissions travelling from as far away as Ohio make their way to the East Coast, driving up the amount of air pollution in states like Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey — also among the states with the highest emissions-related mortality rates. These are referred to as “upwind” sources, as most lie upwind of the affected state.

Maryland cannot regulate upwind sources as they are generated in other states and is seeking federal assistance to address the problem.

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