Here’s How Air Pollution Is Costing You 1.5 Years of Your Life
If air pollution were removed as a risk for death, people in the world could live at least a year longer and in India, which is battling a severe air pollution, the benefit would be even more - about 1.5 years, says a new study published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology Letters.
“Here, we were able to systematically identify how air pollution also substantially shortens lives around the world,” said lead researcher Joshua Apte from The University of Texas at Austin in the US.
“What we found is that air pollution has a very large effect on survival - on average about a year globally,” Apte added.
For the study, the researchers looked at outdoor air pollution from particulate matter (PM) smaller than 2.5 microns.
The team used data from the Global Burden of Disease Study to measure PM 2.5 air pollution exposure and its consequences in 185 countries.
They then quantified the national impact on life expectancy for each individual country as well as on a global scale.
In the context of other significant phenomena negatively affecting human survival rates, Apte said this is a big number.
For example, it’s considerably larger than the benefit in survival we might see if we found cures for both lung and breast cancer combined. In countries like India and China, the benefit for elderly people of improving air quality would be especially large. For much of Asia, if air pollution were removed as a risk for death, 60-year-olds would have a 15 per cent to 20 per cent higher chance of living to age 85 or older.Joshua Apte
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