New Study Finds Air Pollution Now Kills More People Than Smoking
A new study recently published in the European Heart Journal suggests that air pollution is responsible for nearly 9 million premature deaths each year.
“To put this into perspective, this means that air pollution causes more extra deaths a year than tobacco smoking, which the World Health Organization estimates was responsible for an extra 7.2 million deaths in 2015,” study co-author Professor Thomas Munzel said in a statement.
According to IFLScience.com, past studies have estimated that the number of extra deaths globally was approximately 4.5 million, but this new approach has shown that air pollution could be responsible for as many as 8.8 million extra deaths.
This new study primarily looked at the effects of PM2.5 particles – atmospheric particulate matters that has a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers, which is approximately 3% of the diameter of a human hair. The are particularly dangerous because, not only are they emitted during the combustion of fuel, but are capable of penetrating deep into the lungs and entering the circulatory system.
“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,” Professor Jos Lelieveld of the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry said. “When we use clean, renewable energy, we are not just fulfilling the Paris Agreement to mitigate the effects of climate change, we could also reduce air pollution-related death rates in Europe by up to 55%.”