New York Times contributor Michael Greenstone, the Milton Friedman professor of economics at the University of Chicago, offers expertise and opinion into a hot debate of the moment over the Clean Air Act and its scope. 

Greenstone looks carefully at the math and economics of cleaner--less polluted--air, the benchmarks being added life expectancy and less pollution-related illness. His principle take-away: 

More than 200 million people currently live in places monitored for particulates in 1970 and today. (The E.P.A. focuses on the most heavily populated or polluted areas of the country, which is why these calculations exclude approximately 115 million people.) On average, these people can expect to live an additional 1.6 years, for a total gain of more than 336 million life-years.

The hundreds of millions of life-years saved from improved air quality in our country didn’t happen by accident or overnight. This happened because a collective voice for change brought about one of the most influential laws of the land.

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