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Pollution of 1970s May Still Be Responsible for Deaths Today

Update Date: Feb 12, 2016 11:31 AM EST

Latest study suggests that pollution caused decades ago can still be responsible for deaths today. The researchers from Imperial College in London said that recent exposure to pollutants may have poor impact on health which makes it necessary to act now on the matter of air pollution.

For the purpose of the study, data of over 368,000 people within a span of 38-years period was analyzed for sulphur dioxide and black smoke in the regions they lived in 1971, 1981, 1991 and PM10s, also known as microscopic particles, in 2001.

Every increased level of suphur dioxide and black smoke people were exposed to in 1971, increased their risk of dying between 2002 and 2009 by 2%, said the study published in Journal Thorax, as reported by Belfast Telegraph.

Even though the pollution levels have fallen since 1970s across the country, those who lived in a polluted region in 2001 still had a 14% increased risk of death than those who lived in a less polluted area, says Times of Malta

Lead author Anna Hansell said: "What this study is showing is that the effects of air pollution persist for a very long time, over 30 years in this particular study, and may actually be persisting longer than that. It's also shown that the more recent exposures appear to be the more harmful to health."

"In a way there's a good and a bad message; there's an imperative there that because the effects are so long-lasting, we really ought to act on it.

"The good news is that if most of the risk is related to recent exposure there's even more of an imperative to act because we'll have an important short-term - in the next few years - benefit if we act now," as reported by Daily Mail

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