Air pollution, primarily the specific particulate matter called PM2.5, decreases the life expectancy by one year, globally, according to a recent study published a couple of days ago in the Environmental Science & Technology Letters journal. However, the PM2.5 pollution is not distributed equally around the world. Thus, people living in regions such as Asia and Africa experience a lifespan drop of up to two years.
But, what’s more interestingly, the reduction in the air pollution caused by particulate matter PM2.5 to the levels recommended by the WHO would equate with eradicating breast and lung cancer globally, regarding life expectancy.
Coal-fired power plants, almost any type of industrial factory, and also the cars’ exhaust contribute to increased levels of PM2.5 around the world. As we speak, 95% of the world’s populations breath air with a higher PM2.5 level in its composition than the recommended levels the WHO established.
Life expectancy decreasing by one year, globally, due to air pollution, particulate matter PM2.5 in special
The scientists from the University of Texas, University of British Columbia, Brigham Young University in Utah, Imperial College of Londo, and the Health Effects Institute in Boston reviewed the data recorded in the Global Burden of Disease Study that gathered more than 1 billion entries on the health and mortality rates and causes across each and every country on the planet.
In 2015, according to the report, more than 4.2 million people worldwide died because of the exposure to particulate matter PM2.5. The figure accounted for about 8% of all the deaths recorded on Earth during that year.
On the other hand, in 1990, about 3.5 million people died due to PM2.5 exposure, with 700,000 less than in 2015 which implies that air pollution has grown globally in the last decades. Additionally, the study reads, air pollution rates in low-income and middle-income countries surged significantly lowering the life expectancy globally.