Maryland is #1

Some people know that I am training for the Baltimore Half-Marathon (less than 3 weeks to go!).  Whenever I am on one of my many runs I am very aware of any potential change in air  (e.g., someone smoking nearby, a car’s exhaust, a nearby poultry house).  This usually causes me to go off in a thought spiral of everything I am being exposed to and the potential impact these exposures could have on my health – which is a welcomed distraction on my longer runs.  

Coming into the office today having just finished a long run, an article on a study conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on premature deaths due to long-term air pollution exposure immediately caught my attention.

At 113 people per 100,000 people per year, MIT found that Maryland has the highest percentage of deaths due to long-term exposure to air pollution.  Those that died prematurely, did so on average of 10 years earlier.  10 YEARS!  

Parts of the state with particularly high mortality rates include Baltimore, Frederick, Reisterstown, Montgomery Village, and Magnolia.

The positive thing I guess you could say about this study is that it was done based on 2005 emissions data.

Since 2005 Maryland has made efforts to reduce air pollution (e.g. Clean Cars Program, 2006 Maryland Healthy Air Act).  I wonder how the impact of these programs/regulations would impact the MIT analysis.

These efforts are also complicated by the fact that air pollution is not sedentary and pollution from as far away as Ohio is impacting our state.

Maryland has made efforts to reduce pollution, but if the total amount of pollution is not just created in Maryland, will state action be enough?  

…I think I have my next blog assignment.