May 9, 2005

Health Canada revises estimate of annual deaths linked to air pollution

OTTAWA, ONT-The number of deaths that can be attributed to air pollution has risen to 5,900 per year, up from the previous estimate of 5,000, says Health Canada. The updated estimate is based on air pollution and mortality data from eight Canadian cities: Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Hamilton, Windsor, Calgary and Vancouver. Health Canada conducted health studies and used complex statistical models to derive the estimate. The previous figure was in effect until 2002 when scientists at Health Canada and Johns Hopkins University in the U.S. discovered a statistical glitch in the model used to calculate such figures. Unlike the previous estimate of 5,000 deaths, the new estimate considers short and long- term health effects of air pollution and assumes a background level of air pollution.

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