British Columbia 2003 - Air Quality in British Columbia, a Public Health Perspective

British Columbia Provincial Health Officer, Ministry of Health Services.
Every Breath You Take…Provincial Health Officer’s Annual Report 2003.
Air Quality in British Columbia, a Public Health Perspective.
2004 Victoria, BC
On the Web
Relevance: high

This report covers the sources, distribution, and health effects and costs of air pollution.

Sources and distribution: Air pollution is neither evenly distributed around BC nor concentrated in Vancouver. For example, Vancouver has relatively low levels of particulate matter (excluding road dust) and ozone but relatively high levels of NO2, SO2, and CO. In the Lower Fraser Valley air shed (including Whatcom County, WA):

  • mobile sources (excluding marine vehicles) account for 41% of smog-forming pollutants. according to an inventory in 2000. 
  • 83% of CO comes from light-duty and off-road vehicles
  • light-duty vehicles are responsible for 23% of NOx, 23% of VOCs, 3% of PM2.5

Health effects. The report estimates that 712 hospital admissions and 944 emergency room visits are due to outdoor air pollution. It also very informally estimates that the health burden from outdoor air pollution costs CAN$85 million annually. Estimates of annual deaths from outdoor air pollution range widely.

  • Low estimate: 82
  • Low intermediate estimate: 25-250
  • High intermediate estimate: 115-402
  • High estimate: 644
  • Estimate of delayed mortality for PM2.5: 71-110


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