Harvard researchers say COVID-19 patients in regions with high air pollution more likely to die

April 20, 2020 |

In Massachusetts, people with COVID-19 who live in U.S. regions with high levels of air pollution are more likely to die from the disease than people who live in less polluted areas, according to a new nationwide study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The study is the first to look at the link between long-term exposure to fine particulate air pollution (PM2.5)—generated largely from fuel combustion from cars, refineries, and power plants—and the risk of death from COVID-19 in the U.S.

The Harvard team’s recent findings underscore the need to power more of our transportation system with non-petroleum-based fuels, like ethanol.

In addition to reducing emissions of particulate matter, running passenger vehicles on fuel blends whose octane source is a higher percentage of ethanol also cuts down on the use of the dirtier-burning benzene, toluene and xylene to boost the octane in gasoline. It is undeniable that on multiple fronts, burning ethanol results in better overall air quality than when cars burn conventional gasoline.
The findings by the Harvard team add critical support to the message long conveyed to policy makers by SfL and other biofuel advocates: that ethanol represents a major step in progress towards farm production that is sustainable for the environment and human health.

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Category: Research

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