Pollution Accounts for One in Six Deaths Worldwide

Urgent attention needed to control pollution, including air pollution and pollution from hazardous chemicals, and prevent related disease
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THURSDAY, May 19, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Pollution remains responsible for about 9 million deaths per year, or one in six deaths worldwide, according to a review published online May 17 in The Lancet Planetary Health.

Richard Fuller, from the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution in Geneva, and colleagues used data from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2019 to update the estimate of the impact of pollution on premature deaths.

The researchers note that pollution remains responsible for about 9 million deaths annually, equivalent to one in six deaths worldwide. The number of deaths attributed to the types of pollution associated with extreme poverty (household air pollution and water pollution) decreased; however, these reductions were offset by increased deaths due to ambient air pollution and toxic chemical pollution. Deaths from these modern pollution risk factors increased 7 percent and more than 66 percent since 2015 and 2000, respectively. Little real progress against pollution can be identified overall, despite ongoing efforts by U.N. agencies, committed groups, committed individuals, and some national governments.

"International organizations and national governments need to continue expanding the focus on pollution as one of the triumvirate of global environmental issues, alongside climate change and biodiversity," the authors write. "All sectors need to integrate pollution control into plans to address other key threats such as climate, biodiversity, food, and agriculture."

One author serves as an expert witness in cases related to lead and fluoride poisoning, but has received no personal compensation.

Abstract/Full Text

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