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2 Million Deaths Yearly Worldwide Linked With Air Pollution

Health & Wellness  (tags: air pollution, death, disease, environment, health, investigation, medicine, prevention, protection, research, safety, society )

- 1803 days ago -
Air pollution may be responsible for more than 2 million deaths around the world each year, according to a new study.

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Kit B (276)
Thursday July 11, 2013, 7:09 pm
Photo Credit: Viktor Fiker | Dreamstime

Air pollution may be responsible for more than 2 million deaths around the world each year, according to a new study.

The study estimated that 2.1 million deaths each year are linked with fine particulate matter, tiny particles that can get deep into the lungs and cause health problems.

Exposure to particle pollution has been linked with early death from heart and lung diseases, including lung cancer, the researchers said; meanwhile, concentrations of particulate matter have been increasing due to human activities. The study also found that 470,000 deaths yearly are linked with human sources of ozone, which forms when pollutants from sources such as cars or factories come together and react. Exposure to ozone has been linked to death from respiratory diseases.

Most of the estimated global deaths likely occur in East and South Asia, which have large populations and severe air pollution, said study researcher Jason West, an assistant professor of environmental sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

"Air pollution is an important problem. It's probably one of the most important environmental risk factors for health," West said. The study suggests that improving air quality around the world would increase life expectancy for some, he said.

While some studies have suggested that climate change can make air pollution more deadly, the new study found that climate change had only a small effect on air pollution-related deaths.

Pollution and climate interact in several ways. Climate-related factors such as temperature and humidity can affect the reaction rates of particles in the air, which in turn determine the formation of pollutants; additionally, rainfall can affect accumulation of pollutants, the researchers said.

However, in the researchers' analysis, changes in climate were linked with just 1,500 yearly deaths from ozone pollution, and 2,200 yearly deaths from fine particulate matter.

The researchers used a number of climate models to estimate concentrations of air pollution around the world, in the years 1850 (the pre-industrial era) and 2000. Focusing on these two years allowed the researchers to determine what proportion of air pollution was human-caused (attributable to industrialization).

Then, the researchers used information from past studies on air pollution and health to determine how many deaths are linked with particular concentrations of air pollution, West said.

The new study had an advantage over previous work in that it did not rely on just one climate model, but instead included several. However, because the study used information from previous research on air pollution and health, the estimates are subject to the same uncertainties that characterized those previous studies.

In addition, most of the studies on air pollution and health were conducted in the United States, so applying those results globally, as the current study did, introduces some uncertainty, West said.

The study will be published in the July 12 issue of the journal Environmental Research Letters.

By: Rachael Rettner | Live Science |


JL A (281)
Thursday July 11, 2013, 7:20 pm
"How many deaths will it take until we decide that too many people have died?"

Judith Hand (55)
Friday July 12, 2013, 8:36 am
Noted. Impressive that the fact was included about "climate change" not having a large effect. In other words, even those who don't concur with climate change can't miss the harm of pollution. Very smart to include. Would that the article be published in periodicals that folks not inclined to read an environmental journal would read.

Kit B (276)
Friday July 12, 2013, 8:52 am

The news or weather once reported each thermal inversion that hit American cities. Now it's fairly common and gets little or no press. We must not lose sight of the fact that the increase in air pollution is very directly linked to climate change.

Angelika R (143)
Friday July 12, 2013, 12:28 pm
The problem with studies is always that factor of uncertainties; guess there may never be anything certain. Nevertheless these studies are certain enough to take action against pollution.

Deborah W (6)
Friday July 12, 2013, 1:21 pm
We ALL own part of the problem ... are we invested enough to become part of the solution?

Birgit W (160)
Friday July 12, 2013, 2:31 pm
We are killing our children and grandchildren.

Kathleen R (138)
Friday July 12, 2013, 4:28 pm
noted & read

Sheila D (194)
Friday July 12, 2013, 9:48 pm
Too bad that it's those uncertainties the naysayers will jump on every time, making sure they pass them on, thus their followers will disbelieve anything else.

MmAway M (506)
Friday July 12, 2013, 10:04 pm
I think it's so many more! So sad for the younger generation and all of the Junk they get to look forward to! Noted with Sorrow!

Helen Porter (39)
Friday July 12, 2013, 11:42 pm
There's a factor we seldom think about but the power/money people sure do!

If we didn't have those millions of deaths due to a great assortment of causes, many induced, we would be crowded off the planet.

Enough of "devil's advocate",

Stop the killing!

Winnie A (179)
Saturday July 13, 2013, 7:50 am
Unfortunately no surprise here. Until some billionaire dies form air pollution not much will happen to change this.

marie C (163)
Saturday July 13, 2013, 4:49 pm
Thanks for posting Kit
Millionaires Billionaires paupers pollution affects all of us in one way or another
Yes Mm M I have a grandson and I often think of his future

Sergio Padilla (65)
Thursday July 25, 2013, 2:39 pm
Well, it is humans fault!
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