New research has found that 95% of world’s population is exposed to unsafe air on a daily basis. The Health Effects Institute (HEI) also found that the people with the highest risk of getting sick or die from air pollution are those who live in South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa’s northern and western parts.
HEI published the report Apr. 17, for the second consecutive year. The report can be found on the nonprofit’s website and University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s portal.
Both HEI reports assess the levels of outdoor air pollution across the world by analyzing the concentrations of particulate matter (PM) and ozone in the air. PMs are microscopic particles like soot and dust that can sicken people who inhale them.
Air Pollution Killing 6 Million People Every Year
HEI researchers found that fine particle matter is the largest risk factor when it comes to air pollution exposure worldwide. Air pollution kills millions of people every year, with 1.6 million people dying prematurely because of unhealthy air in China alone last year.
There are more early deaths from fine particle pollution than deaths from sodium excess, alcohol abuse, or being sedentary, study authors noted.
The 2018 report also assesses the levels of indoor air pollution in several parts of the world.
- Many people breathe unsafe air in their very homes as they use coal and wood as fuel.
- Researchers found that household pollution killed 2.6 million people in 2016.
- household pollution is now the eighth risk factor for premature death in the world.
Household pollution, particulate matter pollution, and ozone account for 6.1 million deaths every year. In 2016, air pollution from the three sources accounted for 11% of the total number of deaths worldwide.
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