4 Ways Air Pollution Could Put You in an Early Grave

Air pollution is on the rise around the world. For every country that’s working to reduce emissions, there are five more increasing consumption of fossil fuels. And it’s not just the environment that’s suffering.

A recent report by the World Health Organization (WHO) found that around 7 million people died — one in eight of total global deaths — as a result of air pollution exposure in 2012. This finding more than doubles previous estimates and confirms that air pollution is now the world’s largest single environmental health risk.

Think you’re safe because you live far away from the congestion of major cities? Think again. The WHO report found that outdoor air pollution in both cities and rural areas was estimated to cause 3.7 million premature deaths worldwide.

Heres what your future could hold if we dont crack down on big polluters and transition to a clean energy economy.

1. Respiratory Disease

According to the American Lung Association, overwhelming evidence shows that particle pollution–like that coming from that exhaust smoke and coal-fired power plants–interferes with the growth and work of the lungs. Even “short-term exposure to particle pollution can kill,” reads the 2013 State of the Air report. “Peaks or spikes in particle pollution can last for hours to days Deaths can occur on the very day that particle levels are high, or within one to two months afterward. Particle pollution does not just make people die a few days earlier than they might otherwise—these are deaths that would not have occurred if the air were cleaner.”

2. Lung Cancer

Don’t smoke cigarettes? You could still die of lung cancer. A book published in 2013 found that air pollution contributes to millions of premature deaths, including 223,000 deaths from lung cancer. More than half of the lung cancer deaths caused by particulate pollution were projected to have been in China and other East Asian countries. This revelation led the WHO to classify air pollution as carcinogenic to humans [PDF].

3. Cardiovascular Disease

“Short-term exposure can increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, arrhythmias and heart failure in susceptible people, such as the elderly or those with pre-existing medical conditions,” states the American Heart Association. “The risk of death is greater from long-term exposure. Current science suggests air pollution facilitates atherosclerosis development and progression. It also may play a role in high blood pressure, heart failure and diabetes.”

4. Suicide

As if the health risks from ambient air pollution weren’t scary enough, new research suggests that living in an area of poor air quality might increase the probability of suicide. In 2010, an Asian study reported links between air pollution and suicide rates in South Korea; and between air pollution, asthma and suicides in Taiwan. Now, University of Utah scientists say they have discovered similar links right here in America. The study, conducted in Salt Lake County, “found that the odds of committing suicide in the county spiked 20 percent following three days of high nitrogen dioxide pollution—which is produced when fossil fuels are burned and after fertilizer is applied to fields. They also found that Utahans were five percent more likely to kill themselves following three days of breathing in air laced with high levels of fine particulate matter, also known as soot,” reports John Upton for PS Mag.

Image via Thinkstock


Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing

Janice Thompson
Janice Thompson3 years ago

No one gets out of life, alive!

Ashley heffner
Lady Suki3 years ago

We are screwed.

Ashley heffner
Lady Suki3 years ago


Timothy Martin
Timothy Martin3 years ago

It's scary stuff. I don't know why so many just don't see this as a major problem.

Gerald L.
Gerald L3 years ago

contd; Power Plants in Alberta, Canada which are tied into California's Supply Grid intentionally shut down coal fired power plants to accommodate the resulting shortage, with rate increases and the need to build new Natural-Gas Power Plant Co-gens, with how much of an increase in Californians conned-sumers electricity bills?

Strategies of the Greened Investors Syndicate,

Enron caused California blackouts , traders say - MarketWatch
www.marketwatch.com/.../enron-caused-california-blackouts... Cached
May 16, 2002, 11:56 a.m. EDT Enron linked to California blackouts Traders said manipulation began energy crisis

Enron and the California Blackouts - Daily Kos
www.dailykos.com/.../-Enron-and-the-California-Blackouts Cached
One of the most egregious examples of corporate malfeasance in recent history took place.

The California Crisis | Blackout | FRONTLINE | PBS
www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/blackout/california Cached
Broadening efforts to rein in California's ... and suffering rolling blackouts, consumer advocate Nettie Hoge; Enron Chairman Ken Lay; California's chief

Can we find Pro-bono Legal firms or Lawyers willing to tackle the scammers entangled with governments?

Gerald L.
Gerald L3 years ago

Lauren, I actually wanted to encourage hope in Reversing Negative CONNED-tracts. Either Portugal or Spain has cancelled Feed In Tariff Contracts. Whopee the lawyers will be having fun now. Western Australia has also done the same. These contracts resemble Ponzee Schemes to me.

In Ontario gullible investors were paying up to $125,000.oo for a 10 Kw Solar Array Feed In Tariff Contract which had to be bought here. A Nuts & bolts Hardware Store in MN was selling 8.5 Kw for $31,500.oo which i would surmise 10K would be around $35,000.oo. Rip-Off Central 101 sanctioned by corrupt government! Paying 3,55 X more for a $olar Array, makes you wonder if there is any back-room profit sharing from the required contractor installation. Need I be gullible enough to ask!

How foolish could anyone think Electric Utilities selling us Hydraulic, Nuclear or Coal fired produced electricity at Base rates at or minus 5.1 cents a Kw mentally justify that with all their heavy Infrastructure, power dams, Nuke plants, Coal fired Boilers = the CAPITAL CO$T$ of Solar panels mounted on Aluminum frameworks or a Wind Turbine on a steel tube need to be paid up too 1,500% more per Kw.

Have we been drinking the Green Kool-Aid often fueled by Environmental organizations, of which a few would not answer my mathematical queries of greened corruption. As a sideline when California suffered Brownouts a decade ago, Power Plants in Alberta, Canada which are tied into California's Supply Grid intentio

Gerald L.
Gerald L3 years ago

@ Lauren G. the Green Kool-Aid fed to us by governments and proponents OR Inve$tor$ $uppoting Greed Energy Project$ has $evere impending Financial Cri$i$ for us the CONNED-$UMER. I refer to Ontario's GREED ENERGY PROGRAM @


See also: Green Energy Act 2009 and WindShare
Ontario introduced a feed-in tariff in 2006, revised in 2009[52] and 2010, increasing from 42¢/kWh to 80.2¢/kWh for micro-scale (≤10 kW) grid-tied photovoltaic projects,[53][54] and decreasing to 64.2¢/kWh for applications received after 2 July 2010.

Previous to $mart Meter$ and the Greed Energy Program our Ba$e Rate for electricity was 0.051 cents. Paying a Solar farm 0.80.2 cents is 1500% more than the base rate. That is outright abuse and legalized thievery from us the 99% of Conned-$umer$. We had NO vote or plebiscite in this contact signed with Samsung behind closed doors of $14. billion plus which our Legislature would not disclose the details to Ontario's citizens.

You want to believe the politicians, friends and families are very well invested in these contracts. Although it is open to anyone, I would refer it to as sharing the spoils of corruption to sell the Green Kool-Aid poisoned with greed! Energy rates are so high many business's are moving out of the province.

I guess the citizens on fixed budgets, crippled by outrageous energy rates; natural gas, propane, electricity can move into a cave!

Karen Gee3 years ago

Thanks for sharing

Marilyn L.
Marilyn L3 years ago