Air pollution deaths are two times more than earlier estimates

Leslie Hanson
March 14, 2019

In Germany, air pollution accounts for 154, Poland 150, and the United Kingdom 98 deaths reducing life expectancy by over two years.

The researchers found that in Europe - the key focus of the European Society of Cardiology research - air pollution caused an estimated 790,000 deaths, between 40 and 80 per cent of them from cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and stroke. "Smoking is avoidable but air pollution is not", Thomas Münzel, a researcher at Johannes Gutenberg University and study author, in a news release.

Air pollution can affect your heart and blood circulation in a number of ways, primarily by damaging the walls of your blood vessels and causing them to become narrower.

Air pollution is killing more people every year than smoking, according to research published on Tuesday that called for urgent action to stop burning fossil fuels.

Air pollution-related death rates were unusually high in eastern European countries, including Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, and Ukraine, with over 200 each year per 100,000 of the population.

It used computer simulations of interacting natural and man-made chemicals combined with new information about population density, disease risk factors and causes of death.

Jos Lelieveld, of the Max-Plank Institute for Chemistry in Mainz and the Cyprus Institute Nicosia, Cyprus.

Europe seems to be more very bad than the other countries of the world, with 133 of every 100,000 deaths related to air pollution, as compared to 120 out of 100,000 deaths internationally. This is higher than the planet-wide findings of an additional 120 deaths per year per 100,000 inhabitants. Authors of another study on pollution released a year ago suggested that "fine particle air pollution is the largest environmental risk factor worldwide, responsible for a substantially larger number of attributable deaths than other more well-known behavioral risk factors such as alcohol use, physical inactivity, or high sodium intake".

Currently, the average annual limit for PM2.5 in the European Union is 25 micrograms per cubic metre - 2.5 times higher than the World Health Organization guideline of 10. Even at this level, several European countries regularly exceed the limit. "Indeed, new evidence may lead to a further lowering of the World Health Organization guideline in the near future", Munzel is quoted as saying by the European Society of Cardiology. Air pollution is known to cause such diseases, including increased blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, heart attacks and heart failure.

Prof Münzel added: "The link between air pollution and cardiovascular disease, as well as respiratory diseases, is well established".

According to Prof Lelieveld, the fine dust content in the air could be reduced further by limiting agricultural emissions, which are responsible for a comparatively large amount of particulate matter pollution and for the associated extra number of deaths in Europe.

In the latest study, researchers urged world leaders to act swiftly to reduce air pollution, re-evaluate related legislation and switch to clean and renewable energy sources. The scientists, however, were candid to admit that there could be statistical uncertainty surrounding the estimates and this may exaggerate or downplay the effect of air pollution on deaths.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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