Air pollution kills an estimated 7 mn people worldwide every year, says WHO

 What are the major health risks associated with it?

Health Consequences

The health effects of air pollution range from increased risk of cardiovascular disease, lung cancer, obesity, and diabetes to reproductive, neurological, immune system disorders and acute respiratory infections.

WHO estimates that 4.2 million premature deaths globally are linked to air pollution.

The most notorious substances

Pollutants with the strongest evidence for public health concern include particulate matter (PM), ozone (03), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulphur dioxide (S02).

PM can penetrate into lung passageways and enter the bloodstream causing cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and respiratory impacts.

Respiratory Diseases

Air pollution is the cause and aggravating factor of many respiratory diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, and lung infection.

Particulate matter and nitrogen oxide are linked to chronic bronchitis.

Cardiovascular Disease

Air pollution leads to high blood pressure, heart failure, stroke, obesity and diabetes. Fine particulate matter can impair blood vessel function and speed up calcification in arteries.

As per WHO, over 20% of all deaths related to cardiovascular diseases are caused by air pollution.


Air pollution is linked to lung cancer and occupational exposure to benzene can cause leukaemia.

Airborne toxic substances are also associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.

Children and women more at risk

Air pollution affects neurological development in children while maternal exposure to air pollution is associated with low birth weight and preterm birth.

Its exposure is also associated with stress and inflammation in human cells, which may lay a foundation for chronic diseases and cancer.

Why do we need to take action NOW!?

*Air pollution kills 800 people every hour or 13 every minute.

*Household air pollution causes about 3.8 million premature deaths each year, and about 60% of those deaths are among women and children.

*Air pollution is responsible for 26% of deaths from ischemic heart disease, 24% from strokes, 43% from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and 29% from lung cancer.

*93% of children worldwide live in areas where air pollution exceeds WHO guidelines

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