US Climate and Health Alliance

Air pollution and early deaths in the United States. Part I: Quantifying the impact of major sectors in 2005


Highlights •Ozone and PM impacts of the major combustion sectors in the U.S. are modeled. •Early deaths attributable to each sector are estimated. •∼200,000 early deaths occur in the U.S. each year due to U.S. combustion emissions. •The leading causes are road transportation and power generation. Abstract: Combustion emissions adversely impact air quality and human health. A multiscale air quality model is applied to assess the health impacts of major emissions sectors in United States. Emissions are classified according to six different sources: electric power generation, industry, commercial and residential sources, road transportation, marine transportation and rail transportation. Epidemiological evidence is used to relate long-term population exposure to sector-induced changes in the concentrations of PM2.5 and ozone to incidences of premature death. Total combustion emissions in the U.S. account for about 200,000 (90% CI: 90,000–362,000) premature deaths per year in the U.S. due to changes in PM2.5 concentrations, and about 10,000 (90% CI: −1000 to 21,000) deaths due to changes in ozone concentrations. The largest contributors for both pollutant-related mortalities are road transportation, causing ∼53,000 (90% CI: 24,000–95,000) PM2.5-related deaths and ∼5000 (90% CI: −900 to 11,000) ozone-related early deaths per year, and power generation, causing ∼52,000 (90% CI: 23,000–94,000) PM2.5-related and ∼2000 (90% CI: −300 to 4000) ozone-related premature mortalities per year. Industrial emissions contribute to ∼41,000 (90% CI: 18,000–74,000) early deaths from PM2.5 and ∼2000 (90% CI: 0–4000) early deaths from ozone. The results are indicative of the extent to which policy measures could be undertaken in order to mitigate the impact of specific emissions from different sectors — in particular black carbon emissions from road transportation and sulfur dioxide emissions from power generation.

Resource Type
Peer-reviewed article
Fabio Caiazzo Akshay Ashok Ian A. Waitz Steve H.L. Yim Steven R.H. Barrett
Resource URL
Atmospheric Environment
Nov 2013
Short Title
Air pollution and early deaths in the United States. Part I
Climate and Environmental Impact
Air pollution
Emission Sources
Conventional energy Other industry Transportation Energy Conventional
Black carbon

Resources main page