Ontario's Doctors: Thousands of Premature Deaths due to Smog



    Alarming new report shows smog is responsible for 9,500 deaths in the
    province each year

    TORONTO, June 6 /CNW/ - New data released today by the Ontario Medical
Association (OMA) shows that air pollution is a contributing factor in almost
9,500 premature deaths per year in Ontario. The report comes as Ontario enters
into the summer season and smog days are expected. Doctors are urging people
to take the proper precautions when air quality is poor.
    "The health impacts from smog range anywhere from itchy eyes and sore
throats to respiratory and cardiac illnesses and even premature death," said
Dr. Ken Arnold, President of the OMA. "Ontarians need to be mindful of the
impact that smog has and take necessary precautions to protect their health
during poor air quality periods."
    The OMA's recently updated Illness Costs of Air Pollution (ICAP) model
found that of the 9,500 premature deaths, more than 1,000 occurred during or
immediately after periods of increased pollution. The remaining number can be
attributed to long-term, lifetime exposure to air pollutants. The ICAP model
uses air pollution, illness and demographic information to estimate
smog-related health effects.
    "The numbers reinforce the fact that the problem of smog is not confined
to cities and industrial centres," said Dr. Arnold. "A staggering number of
premature deaths attributed to pollution were found across Ontario, showing
that less-urban areas can be equally, and sometimes even more affected by smog
than larger cities."
    In 2007, Ontario recorded 59 poor air quality days; Ontario's doctors
want patients to be prepared this summer so they can take the proper steps to
protect their own health. On days when air pollution is high, it is
recommended to:

    
    -  reduce strenuous outdoor activities, or change the time you are active
       outdoors to early morning or later in the evening.
    -  drink lots of fluids to stay hydrated.
    -  stay in a cool, clean, air-conditioned environment if you are
       especially vulnerable to the effects of smog.
    -  speak to your physician about how best to manage your condition if you
       suffer from respiratory or cardiac illness.
    -  know your limits and pay attention to how you are feeling.

    "It's important for those who may be more at risk from smog related
illness to consult their doctor on how they can stay protected," said Dr.
Arnold. "The air we breathe is one of our most important resources and we all
have a role to play in reducing the amount of smog that we are exposed to."
    For a break down of premature mortality estimates locally, please visit
www.oma.org.



                   Local Premature Smog Deaths in Ontario
                   --------------------------------------

    This data is derived from the Ontario Medical Association's (OMA) Illness
Cost of Air Pollution (ICAP) Model. The data illustrates premature smog deaths
by census district for the year 2008.


    Algoma                        130   Niagara                          425
    Brant                         108   Nipissing                         67
    Bruce                          68   Northumberland                    81
    Cochrane                       70   Ottawa-Carleton                  503
    Dufferin                       37   Oxford                            93
    Durham                        381   Parry Sound                       41
    Elgin                          71   Peel                             700
    Essex                         317   Perth                             66
    Frontenac                     107   Peterborough                     119
    Grey                           83   Prescott and Russell              49
    Haldimand-Norfolk              99   Prince Edward                     25
    Haliburton                     18   Rainy River                       14
    Halton                        336   Renfrew                           76
    Hamilton-Wentworth            445   Simcoe                           299
    Hastings                      103   Stormount, Dundas, Glengarry      86
    Huron                          60   Sudbury District                 118
    Kenora                         34   Sudbury Regional Municipality     20
    Kent                          100   Thunder Bay                      122
    Lambton                       125   Timiskaming                       32
    Lanark                         48   Toronto                         2130
    Leeds Grenville                80   Victoria                          69
    Lennox and Addington           31   Waterloo                         348
    Manitoulin                     14   Wellington                       158
    Middlesex                     348   York                             590
    Muskoka                        54
                                        Provincial Total(*)            9,500
    

    (*)The provincial total is based on the addition of the unrounded
    premature death numbers from each census district.





For further information:

For further information: OMA Media Relations at (416) 340-2862 or
toll-free at 1-800-268-7215 ext. 2862.


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