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      Evidence on the impact of sustained exposure to air pollution on life expectancy from China's Huai River policy.

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          Abstract

          This paper's findings suggest that an arbitrary Chinese policy that greatly increases total suspended particulates (TSPs) air pollution is causing the 500 million residents of Northern China to lose more than 2.5 billion life years of life expectancy. The quasi-experimental empirical approach is based on China's Huai River policy, which provided free winter heating via the provision of coal for boilers in cities north of the Huai River but denied heat to the south. Using a regression discontinuity design based on distance from the Huai River, we find that ambient concentrations of TSPs are about 184 μg/m(3) [95% confidence interval (CI): 61, 307] or 55% higher in the north. Further, the results indicate that life expectancies are about 5.5 y (95% CI: 0.8, 10.2) lower in the north owing to an increased incidence of cardiorespiratory mortality. More generally, the analysis suggests that long-term exposure to an additional 100 μg/m(3) of TSPs is associated with a reduction in life expectancy at birth of about 3.0 y (95% CI: 0.4, 5.6).

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
          Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
          Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
          1091-6490
          0027-8424
          Aug 06 2013
          : 110
          : 32
          Affiliations
          [1 ] Applied Economics Department, Guanghua School of Management, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China.
          Article
          1300018110
          10.1073/pnas.1300018110
          3740827
          23836630
          dc975f7d-a5e5-42b6-907f-78b88ac9e136
          History

          Chinese environmental quality,airborne particulate matter,health costs of coal combustion,premature mortality,unintended consequences of policy

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