These findings are a breath of fresh air.
A new study from the University of Southern California shows a potential link between electric cars and improved lung health.
Researchers from the Keck School of Medicine at USC analyzed the number of asthma-related hospital visits compared to electric car ownership in the Golden State.
They discovered that for every 20 electrical vehicles per 1,000 people, there was a 3.2% decrease in annual emergency room visits due to asthma-related incidents.
As an added bonus, there was also a slight dip in levels of nitrogen dioxide, which can harm the respiratory system.
The team of researchers was curious to know if detectable differences in health and air quality were present despite “relatively low levels” of electric vehicle usage.
Using data collected from 2013 to 2019, the study, published in the Science of Total Environment, evaluated ZIP codes by electric vehicle ownership. It found that areas with lower socioeconomic status and educational achievement had fewer electric cars, referred to as the “adoption gap.”
“The impacts of climate change on health can be challenging to talk about because they can feel very scary,” study author Dr. Sandrah Eckel, an associate professor of population and public health sciences at the university, said in a statement. “We’re excited about shifting the conversation towards climate change mitigation and adaptation, and these results suggest that transitioning to [electric vehicles] is a key piece of that.”
Pollution is a known killer, as many other studies have shown that excessive exposure to poor-quality air can cause significant health issues and even fatalities.
Last year, a report declared that 9 million people die annually from pollution-related problems – many of which could be avoided and remedied if the air could be improved.
In fact, a different report revealed that a majority of the world’s population is inhaling toxic air – 99% to be exact. Symptoms and ailments caused by unhealthy air include coughing, wheezing, chronic asthma and cancer.
Other studies have examined the short-term effects of pollution and poor air quality, namely on brain cognition. Research from last month detailed the potential link between car exhaust and impaired brain function, while another claimed lower-quality air hindered the minds of chess players and caused them to make poor decisions.
While electrical vehicles are just a small piece of the puzzle, the USC researchers encourage further analysis of their role in mitigating the pollution crisis. Their study could serve as the blueprint – potential proof, upon further research, that change can occur at a local level, they assert.
“When we think about the actions related to climate change, often it’s on a global level,” USC study author Dr. Erika Garcia, an assistant professor of population and public health sciences at the university, said in a statement. “But the idea that changes being made at the local level can improve the health of your own community could be a powerful message to the public and to policymakers.”
This article was originally posted by The New York Post.