The Cost of Premature Birth from Preventable Air Pollution in California

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Air pollution can have serious effects on health, starting from the very first stages of life.

Research has shown that air pollution can increase a mother’s risk of premature birth—medically known as ‘preterm birth’ for infants born before 37 weeks of gestation. It has also suggested that unequal exposure to pollution is one reason for racial disparities in premature birth, and that reductions in air pollution may greatly benefit impacted communities.

A new report released by the Public Health Institute’s California Environmental Health Tracking Program (CEHTP) estimates the cost of premature birth due to preventable particulate matter pollution in California.
The report finds that by eliminating preventable particulate matter air pollution, each year California could avoid an estimated:
  • 3,000 premature births
  • $170 million in medical costs
  • $980 million in lost lifetime earnings

Reducing air pollution is an important strategy for preventing premature birth. CEHTP makes information on air pollution’s impact on premature birth more available to communities, air regulators, and policymakers so that they can make informed decisions to reduce air pollution in their communities.

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