Medical costs of dirty air will exceeds mitigation funds

Feb 18 2013 - 2:28pm


I would take issue with the recent letter of Feb. 15 stating that the air in the valley used to be dirtier and that since our population has grown so much that there is little we can do without hurting the economy ("Air cleaner now than in 1920s").

First of all this is not just an "environmentalist" issue, because we all breathe the air and although cars run much cleaner now, we still put vast amounts of pollution into the air by continuing to drive one person to a car 70-80 percent of the time, even just commuting. Incredibly, Cache County only fairly recently started requiring emission testing on cars, even though Logan has had the worst air in the country more than once!

As to expense, worsening smog will likely cost us more in businesses not locating here and EPA fines than making some adjustments, like using public transportation more and penalizing the worst commercial polluters.

I am a physician and although not a respiratory specialist, I know enough about lung physiology to say that these high levels of micro-particulates are not only bad for asthmatics and COPD patients, but bad for all of us. 

If you can factor in the superimposed medical costs of this pollution, monies spent to clean up the air will start to seem cheap.

Yes, we cannot stop inversions and  we don't want to go back to coal burning in the valley or stop population growth, but to say we can do nothing is simply a dangerous and expensive, defeatist attitude.

Ronald S. Rankin, M.D.


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