Lower air pollution levels saved an estimated 5,660 lives in New York State in 2012. That’s according to a new study from the Columbia University’s Palisades-based Lamont-Doherty Observatory’s atmospheric chemistry research group. They found fine particulate matter air pollution, or “PM2.5,” was responsible for 8,410 premature deaths in 2002, but that dropped to 2,750 deaths just ten years later. Xiaomeng Jin, the Lamont researcher who led the study, says the numbers for Rockland County are even better than the state average
The study suggests several factors have helped clear the air, including cleaner vehicles, and the reduction of high sulfur dioxide-emitting coal-burning power plants.