Global pollution kills 9 million people a year, the study found

A new study has blamed all forms of pollution for the 9 million deaths worldwide each year, with the number of deaths due to polluted air from cars, trucks and industry rising by 55% since 2000.

This increase has been met by low-pollution deaths from primitive indoor stoves and water polluted by human and animal waste, so overall pollution deaths in 2019 are the same as in 2015.

The United States is the only fully industrialized country in the top 10, with 142,883 deaths due to pollution in 2019, according to a new study in The Lancet Planetary Health Journal. Tuesday’s pre-epidemic study is based on calculations obtained from the Global Burden of Disease database and the Seattle Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. India and China lead the world in pollution deaths with about 2.4 million and about 2.2 million deaths per year, but these two countries also have the largest populations in the world.

The United States ranks 31st in the world at 43.6 deaths per 100,000 people when pollution is put at the top of the population rate. Chad and the Central African Republic have the highest pollution death rates of about 300 per 100,000 people, with more than half due to contaminated water, while Brunei, Qatar and Iceland have the lowest pollution death rates between 15 and 23. Worldwide, 117 deaths per 100,000 people are caused by pollution.

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Cigarette smoking and second-hand smoke combine to kill nearly the same number of people worldwide each year, according to the study.

Philip Landrigan, director of Boston College’s Global Public Health Program and the Global Pollution Observatory, said “9 million deaths are far more deaths.”

“The bad news is that it’s not diminishing,” Landrigan said. “We are gaining in simple things and we are seeing more difficult things, which is the surrounding (outdoor industry) air pollution and chemical pollution, still increasing.”

That shouldn’t be the case, the researchers said.

“It simply came to our notice then. Each of them is a death that is unnecessary, “said Dr. Lynn Goldman, dean of the George Washington University School of Public Health, who was not part of the study. He said the calculations are understandable and if anything. It was so conservative about what caused the pollution that the actual death toll was probably higher.

This death certificate does not say contamination. They list heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, other lung problems and diabetes which are “strongly linked” to pollution by numerous epidemiological studies, Landrigan said. To combine these with actual deaths, researchers then look at the number of deaths by causation, exposure to contaminants for different causes, and then calculate the complex exposure response resulting from large-scale epidemiological research based on thousands of people over decades, he said. . Similarly, scientists can say that cigarettes are the leading cause of death from cancer and heart disease.

“That cannon of information constitutes causation,” Landrigan said. “That’s how we do it.”

Five outside experts on public health and air pollution, including Goldman, told the Associated Press that the study follows mainstream scientific thinking. Emergency room doctor and Harvard professor. Renee Salas, who was not part of the study, said: “The American Heart Association determined a decade ago that exposure to fossil fuel-like (particulate matter) exposure causes heart disease and death.”

“Although people focus on lowering their blood pressure and cholesterol, very few people recognize that removing air pollution is an important prescription for improving their heart health,” says Salas.

Three-quarters of all pollution deaths come from air pollution, and the irresistible part of it is “a combination of pollution from stationary sources such as coal-fired power plants and steel mills and mobile sources such as cars, trucks and buses ৷ on the one hand, and this is just one big global problem.” Landrigan, a public health practitioner. “And it’s getting worse around the world as countries develop and cities grow.”

In New Delhi, India, air pollution peaks in the winter months and last year the city saw only two days when air pollution was not considered. This is the first time in four years that the city has experienced a clear breeze in the winter months.

Air pollution, which is still the leading cause of death in South Asia, confirms what is already known, but the increase in deaths means rising toxic emissions from vehicles and power generation, says Anumita Roychowdhury, director of the Advocacy Group Center for Science and Environment in New Delhi. .

“This information is a reminder of what is going wrong but an opportunity to correct it,” Roychowdhury said.

Experts say deaths are on the rise in the poorest regions due to pollution.

“This problem is worst in the world’s most populous regions (such as Asia) and where the financial and government resources to deal with the pollution problem are limited and there are many challenges to address, including access to health care and food.” Pollution, ”said Dan Greenbaum, president of the Health Impact Institute, who was not part of the study.

In 2000, industrial air pollution killed approximately 2.9 million people worldwide each year. It was 4.2 million in 2015 and 4.5 million in 2019, the study said. Toss in household air pollution, mostly from inefficient primitive stoves, and air pollution killed 6.7 million people in 2019, the study found.

Lead pollution – some lead additions that are banned from gasoline in every country in the world and even from old paints, recyclable batteries and other products – kills 900,000 people a year, with water pollution responsible for 1.4 million deaths a year. Occupational health pollution added another 870,000 deaths, the study said.

In the United States, lead pollution-induced hypertension, heart disease, and kidney disease kill about 20,000 people each year, mostly as occupational hazards, Landrigan said. Lead and asbestos are major chemical hazards in America, and they kill about 65,000 people a year due to pollution, he said. The study found that the number of deaths from air pollution in the United States in 2019 was 60,229, far more than the number of deaths on American roads, reaching a 16-year high of 43,000 last year.

Modern types of pollution are on the rise in most countries, especially in developing countries, but declined in the United States, the European Union, and Ethiopia between 2000 and 2019. Ethiopian numbers are not fully explained and could be a reporting problem, said Richard Fuller, co-author of the study, founder of the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution and president of Pure Earth, a nonprofit that works to clean up pollution. In about a dozen countries.

The study’s authors came up with eight recommendations to reduce pollution deaths, highlighting the need for better monitoring, better reporting and stronger government control of industry and vehicles.

“We know exactly how to solve each of these problems,” Fuller said. “What is missing is political will.”

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