Air pollution killing more people than smoking, say scientists

(Eco Business, 13 Mar 2019) New data indicates hazardous health impact of the smallest pollution particles, known as PM2.5 - main cause of respiratory and cardiovascular disease - is much worse than previously thought.

Air pollution is killing more people every year than smoking, according to research published on Tuesday that called for urgent action to stop burning fossil fuels.

Researchers in Germany and Cyprus estimated that air pollution caused 8.8 million extra deaths in 2015 - almost double the previously estimated 4.5 million.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates smoking kills about 7 million people a year globally.

The researchers found that in Europe - the key focus of the European Society of Cardiology research - air pollution caused an estimated 790,000 deaths, between 40 and 80 per cent of them from cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and stroke.

“Since most of the particulate matter and other air pollutants in Europe come from the burning of fossil fuels, we need to switch to other sources for generating energy urgently,” said co-author Prof. Jos Lelieveld, of the Max-Plank Institute for Chemistry in Mainz and the Cyprus Institute Nicosia, Cyprus.

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Eco Business, 13 Mar 2019: Air pollution killing more people than smoking, say scientists