Recently, new research, whose findings appear in the journal Cardiovascular Research, looks at the role of air pollution as a potential contributor to various fatal health conditions and the number of deaths each year around the globe.
More specifically, the researchers were able to determine the approximate number of deaths caused as a consequence of high levels of air pollution and conclude that it surpasses the number of people who lose their lives to other well-known causes of death including malaria and smoking.
Previously, research has identified a number of negative effects associated with the rising levels of air pollution on a global scale. Contrary to popular belief, the impact of pollution in the air is not confined to the lungs.
Whereas breathing in polluted air is indeed difficult and can elevate the risk for egregious lung-related issues, it can additionally raise the chances of having cardiovascular diseases which are currently the leading cause of death worldwide.
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Secondly, pollution in the air has also been linked to premature births, birth defects, and pregnancy complications. People residing in areas with high air pollution are also observed to be at an increased risk of developing different forms of cancers.
Regardless of the multiple efforts to raise awareness via campaigns and initiatives, air pollution has remained to be a persistent issue in different parts of the world.
In fact, in some countries, the problem has become so severe that people are advised to stay indoors more often and wear specialized masks including N95 and N99 masks whenever heading anywhere in the outdoors.
The number one cause of air pollution identified by experts is the burning of fossil fuels for various purposes such as running industries and factors or production of electricity in some areas.
There are also some studies that suggest that some of the pollutions exist naturally in the air including dust particles or pollution caused by natural wildfires.
However, the authors of such papers agree that pollution as a result of these causes is not as harmful. It is mainly the pollution caused by humans that significantly affects public health on a global level.
For instance, the findings of a study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health stated that “[f]ossil fuel combustion byproducts are the world’s most significant threat to children’s health and future and are major contributors to global inequality and environmental injustice.”
In the new study, the researchers emphasize how taking specific initiatives for controlling the human factors associated with air pollution can make a big difference.
To reach this conclusion, the researchers developed a new model that was able to calculate the multiple ways in which air pollution impacts a number of factors as well as another model to determine the number of deaths globally that are linked to air pollution.
Using both of the models, the researchers discovered that air pollution was a major cause of death in 2015 and contributed to around 8.8 million deaths at a global level. So far, it has also decreased life expectancy by three years.
In comparison, it was noted that AIDs caused one million deaths whereas smoking caused around seven million deaths. The researchers state the effects of air pollution are concerning. However, just like smoking, they are also preventable.
Air pollution is caused by smoke and pollutants from factories and common motor vehicles. The encouragement of using public transport over private ones in order to cut down fuel consumption and further air pollution can be among the first steps.
With similar appropriate efforts from the medical community as well as from policymakers, the issue can be controlled effectively.