Air pollution causes premature deaths

According to a new international study conducted by researchers from Monastic University (Australia), exposure to toxic air pollutants is associated with increased mortality from cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.

A study led by Dr. Haidong Kan of Fudan University in China analyzed data on air pollution and mortality in 652 cities in 24 countries and regions and found that the increase in total deaths was due to exposure to inhaled particles (PM10) and small Particles (PM2.5) resulting from fires or chemical transformations in the atmosphere.

Published in the New England Journal of Medicine, this is the largest international study of the short-term effects of air pollution on mortality over a 30-year period.

Associate Professor Euming Guo of Monash University’s School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine in Australia said that since there is no threshold for particulate matter and mortality, even low levels of air pollution can increase the risk of death.

“The adverse effects on human health from the short-term effects of air pollution are well documented and are known to cause public health concern about its toxicity and widespread distribution,” said Professor Guo.
“The smaller the suspended particles in the air, the easier they can penetrate deep into the lungs.”

“Although Australia’s air pollution concentrations are lower than in other countries, the study showed that Australians are more sensitive to particulate matter and cannot effectively resist its negative effects.”

The results are comparable with previous results from other studies in different cities and countries, and suggest that particulate levels below current air quality standards still pose a health hazard.