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New report estimates 89,000 lives could be saved if Americans make one simple lifestyle change: 'A significant health benefit'

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), almost all of the global population (99%) breathes air that exceeds WHO guideline limits and contains high levels of pollutants.

Health benefits of shifting to electric vehicles

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The American Lung Association released a report explaining how if drivers stop using conventional air-polluting vehicles and the U.S. cleans up its power grid, 89,000 lives and nearly $1 trillion in health costs could be saved by the middle of the century, as reported by Grist.  

According to William Barrett, who authored the report and works on clean air and climate policy at the American Lung Association, "There's a real significant health benefit to be achieved and significant suffering to be avoided — premature deaths to be avoided, children having asthma attacks avoided — by making this transition to technology that exists today."

According to the World Health Organization, almost all of the global population (99%) breathes air that exceeds WHO guideline limits and contains high levels of pollutants. 

Conventional motor vehicles emit pollution that contains particulate matter, which penetrates the lungs and enters the bloodstream, resulting in various impacts on cardiovascular health (such as ischaemic heart disease), cerebrovascular health (such as stroke), and respiratory well-being, the WHO reports.  

The organization also states that short-term and long-term exposure to particulate matter is associated with increased mortality rates related to cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.

Long-term exposure has also been linked to negative perinatal outcomes and lung cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer of the WHO classified particulate matter as a cause of lung cancer in 2013. 

States such as California and Oregon have established goals to achieve "zero-emissions" for all passenger vehicle sales by 2035. 

The Environmental Protection Agency recently introduced tailpipe emissions standards that could result in EVs making up around two-thirds of all new car sales by 2032.

However, the American Lung Association's report also specifies the need for EVs to be powered by clean energy sources, like solar or wind. 

Sara Adar, an epidemiologist at the University of Michigan who specializes in studying environmental health, particularly traffic pollution, admitted, "If we fail in our attempt to clean the grid and we are still generating electricity based on coal, I think those estimates will no longer be accurate," Grist reported.

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