Pollution kills more people in Southern California’s San Joaquin Valley and South Coast Air Basin then motor vehicles according to a recent article in Time magazine. In 2006, the California Highway Patrol recorded 2,521 deaths related to motor vehicles in the two areas, while there were 3,812 respiratory-related deaths linked to pollution.
Researchers at California State University-Fullerton released a study showing that if the state met federal ozone standards, Californians in these two areas could save $28 billion annually in health care costs, missed work and lost income potential from unexpected deaths. That’s $1,600 per person in San Joaquin Valley and $1,250 in the South Coast Air Basin each year. And if the regulations were adopted within the month, the savings in health care costs could be $68 billion by 2020.
The study was released just in time too as the California Air Resources Board considers reducing the amount of diesel truck emissions. The problem is a regulation like this could cost 170,000 business owners $5.5 billion. Last time I checked, though, businesses need living employees and customers to run smoothly. They will have to start cutting back on emissions eventually — so why not do it now while those whose lives are at stake are still around to participate?