Menu

Global Air Quality Crisis

The World Health Organization estimates that more than 7 million people died in 2012 due to air pollution, making it the number-one environmental risk on the planet.

Mar 26, 2014
Bob Grant

Severe haze affecting Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in August 2005. Southeast Asia is one of the regions hardest hit by air pollution.WIKIMEDIA, SAPERAUDAir pollution exposure is killing an unprecedented number of people around the world—more than 7 million in 2012 alone—according to a new report from the World Health Organization (WHO) released on Tuesday (March 25). These latest numbers double previous estimates and make air pollution the world’s number-one environmental health risk. The WHO’s new data draw a stronger link between air pollution and cardiovascular diseases, such as stroke and ischaemic heart disease, as well as cancer. “The risks from air pollution are now far greater than previously thought or understood, particularly for heart disease and strokes,” Maria Nera, WHO’s public health and environment director told the Los Angeles Times.

The WHO linked about 4.3 million of those deaths to indoor air pollution and about 3.7 million deaths to outdoor air pollution. (There was likely overlap between people exposed to indoor and outdoor air pollution, which explains the total estimate of about 7 million deaths.) Most of the indoor air pollution resulted from the use of coal, wood, or biomass stoves, and overall, low- and middle-income countries in Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific bore the brunt of 2012’s air-pollution death toll—3.3 million deaths in those regions resulted from indoor air pollution and 2.6 million to outdoor air pollution, according to the WHO’s estimates.

“Cleaning up the air we breathe prevents non-communicable diseases as well as reduces disease risks among women and vulnerable groups, including children and the elderly,” Flavia Bustreo, the WHO’s assistant director-general for family, women and children’s health, told Nature.

Last year, the WHO’s cancer arm, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), officially classified air pollution as a carcinogen.

November 2018

Intelligent Science

Wrapping our heads around human smarts

Marketplace

Sponsored Product Updates

Slice® Safety Cutters for Lab Work

Slice® Safety Cutters for Lab Work

Slice cutting tools—which feature our patent-pending safety blades—meet many lab-specific requirements. Our scalpels and craft knives are well suited for delicate work, and our utility knives are good for general use.

The Lab of the Future: Alinity Poised to Reinvent Clinical Diagnostic Testing and Help Improve Healthcare

The Lab of the Future: Alinity Poised to Reinvent Clinical Diagnostic Testing and Help Improve Healthcare

Every minute counts when waiting for accurate diagnostic test results to guide critical care decisions, making today's clinical lab more important than ever. In fact, nearly 70 percent of critical care decisions are driven by a diagnostic test.

LGC announces new, integrated, global portfolio brand, Biosearch Technologies, representing genomic tools for mission critical customer applications

LGC announces new, integrated, global portfolio brand, Biosearch Technologies, representing genomic tools for mission critical customer applications

LGC’s Genomics division announced it is transforming its branding under LGC, Biosearch Technologies, a unified portfolio brand integrating optimised genomic analysis technologies and tools to accelerate scientific outcomes.