Air Pollution Has High Casualty Rates in Developing Markets

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There was bad news in a study of glob­al health haz­ards, with auto emis­sions mak­ing the list for the time ever in the study. Much of this has to do with high vol­umes of vehi­cles being added to roads in Chi­na and India. Accord­ing a study pub­lished in The Lancet, “Glob­al Bur­den of Dis­eases, Injuries, and Risk Fac­tors Study” for 2010, air pol­lu­tion, most­ly from ambi­ent par­tic­u­late mat­ter from auto emis­sions, joined the list along with high blood pres­sure, tobac­co smoke, and alco­hol abuse.

The GBD study showed that in 2010, 3.2 mil­lion peo­ple around the world died from dis­eases caused by air pol­lu­tion; of these fatal­i­ties, over two mil­lion were in Asia, with the bulk in east Asia and Chi­na, and south Asia and India. These fatal­i­ties rep­re­sent a 400% increase in air-pol­lu­tion relat­ed dis­ease since 2000. It may also be that the 2010 fig­ures were accu­rate­ly mea­sured for the first time, accord­ing to David Pet­tit, direc­tor of the South­ern Cal­i­for­nia Air Pro­grams at the Nat­ur­al Resources Defense Coun­cil. Even if inflat­ed, the study illus­trates a seri­ous prob­lem in the region, and the world, that will need to be addressed through aggres­sive action to reverse the trend, the study says.

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