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Air Pollution Leads to Over 2 Million Premature Deaths Each Year

A study in Environmental Research Letters demonstrates that global pollution causes more than 2 million premature deaths annually. Researchers used models to determine the effects of both ozone and fine particulate matter (PM2:5) — smog and soot — on public health. They found that “470 000 (95% confidence interval, 140 000 to 900 000) premature respiratory deaths are associated globally and annually with anthropogenic ozone, and 2.1 (1.3 to 3.0) million deaths with anthropogenic PM2:5-related cardiopulmonary diseases (93%) and lung cancer (7%).” This estimated impact is smaller than previous calculations (some of which exceeded 3 million annual deaths) in part because it is compared to “1850 air pollution rather than a counterfactual low concentration.”

Read the study in Environmental Research Letters.