Study Warns Against Taking a Deep Breath in Mexico

  • Published on October 29th, 2008

Mexico may be planting green roofs, but that may not be enough. A new study came out on Monday saying that the dense smog over many parts of Mexico is shortening Mexicans’ lives by a whole two years.

A Harvard group concluded that 1.6 percent of annual deaths in Mexico are from that hazy fog, coming to a total of 7,600 shorter lives total in the years 2002-2005.

Reports AP, “Mexico’s average life expectancy — 72.3 years for men and 77.8 for women — would be longer by 2.4 months if urban air quality were improved, according to the study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.”

Mexico City had the most shortened lives from air pollution, with 38 percent of those deaths.

But although air pollution is a huge threat, the study also reported that diseases from dirty water and household fuels killed another 1.4 percent of the population.

But let’s see how that compares with China, the bastion of air pollution (A professor of mine who just visited the country came back saying that in the two weeks he was there, he saw only about four hours total of clear skies).

Says a 2007 report from the World Bank titled “Cost of Pollution in China,”air pollution causes 350,000-400,000 deaths each year. On top of that 300,000 more Chinese die a year from poor air quality indoors, reports BBC.

At least the Harvard report on Mexico is published. Chinese censorship struck down portions of the World Bank report, and it was only through foreign news organizations that that information reached the public.

Related Posts:

Mexico City Plants Green Roofs
Most Chinese Say Pollution is a Big Problem

About the Author

My name is Amanda, and I'm a recent grad from Michigan State University. At MSU I was involved in the environmental journalism program and have written for the school's environmental journal and E, The Environmental Magazine. I'm delving into freelancing now, and will spend the summer in NYC as an intern at NYC Parks and Recreation.