A recent study has revealed that air pollution is the number one cause of deaths worldwide. In fact, the research reveals that it can increase the risk of death that much more than other factors, including general violence, smoking, and malaria.
Past studies have found the negative effects of air pollution to the public’s health. It’s been linked to strokes and heart attacks, in addition to chronic illnesses like asthma. It can also have impacts on pregnancy (i.e. preterm birth).
To look at the effects air pollution has on worldwide deaths, Medical News Today revealed that the researchers for this current study created a refined model to determine the ways that air pollution interacts with other life factors. They used the model while detailing data and death rates within differing locations around the world. They also used it to approximate mortality rates, globally.
As such, the team could distinguish between “influenced” air pollution (fossil fuel burnings), versus “natural” air pollution (wildfires and dust). They could also see the effect it has on different global regions and age groups.
The study team discovered that air pollution could be one of the major causes of death globally, with an estimated 8.8 individuals passing on during 2015, due to this. In fact, the most significant effect air pollution had on health was linked to cardiovascular illnesses that was connected to 43 percent of these worldwide deaths.
When it comes to age, older individuals were overwhelmingly at risk, with 75 percent of deaths happening to those over the age of 60. In fact, study authors believe that air pollution should be considered a pandemic.
The effects of air pollution are so great that the study authors believe that officials should consider it a “pandemic.” Where the medical community and policy makers should be paying more attention to air pollution and the numbers.
It’s important to note that the research had its limitations, with some reliance around estimates as it relates to worldwide mortality rates. With that, the team also relied on estimates when reviewing the effects of other contributors to worldwide mortality, like smoking, for example.
While there are some parts of air pollution across the globe that might be hard to control – like significant dust presence and wildfires – the majority of factors when it comes to mortality is from air pollution influenced by humans, which is close to two-thirds around the global; ending up at 80 percent within high-income nations.