We all know that pollution, of any kind, is not good news and that it may lead to health risks. Air pollution, such as smog, is something many large cities experience, especially in low- and middle-income countries. The World Health Organisation reports that “As urban air quality declines, the risk of stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and chronic and acute respiratory diseases, including asthma, increases for the people who live in them.” But how do these health risks impact premature mortality?
A recent study on air pollution in urban areas in India has estimated that fine particulate matter (i.e. very small airborne particles released by various sources, such as fossil fuel or organic matter burning) exposure has lead to over half a million premature deaths. Though this number was not obtained by studying who actually died from air pollution, but rather via statistical extrapolation of data obtained in less polluted areas, the study suggests that air pollution in India leads to about 3.4 life years lost.
Read the whole article by Chelsea Harvey in the Energy and Environment section of the Washington Post here.