- The number of early deaths caused by air pollution is double previous estimates, according to research, meaning toxic air is killing more people than tobacco smoking.
- The new research found that air pollution caused an estimated 8.8 million extra deaths globally rather than the previously estimated 4.5 million.
Air pollution could be causing double the number of excess deaths a year in Europe than has been estimated previously, according to a study published in the European Heart Journal
The new study indicates that while air pollution hits the lungs first, its impact via the bloodstream on heart disease and strokes is responsible for twice as many deaths as respiratory diseases.
The researchers found that air pollution caused an estimated 8.8 million extra deaths globally rather than the previously estimated 4.5 million. Co-author of the study, Professor Thomas Münzel, of the Department of Cardiology of the University Medical Centre Mainz in Mainz, Germany, said: “To put this into perspective, this means that air pollution causes more extra deaths a year than tobacco smoking, which the World Health Organization estimates was responsible for an extra 7.2 million deaths in 2015. Smoking is avoidable but air pollution is not.
“The number of deaths from cardiovascular disease that can be attributed to air pollution is much higher than expected. In Europe alone, the excess number of deaths is nearly 800,000 a year and each of these deaths represents an average reduction in life expectancy of more than two years.”
Author: Bryan Groenendaal