Lung Cancer

Air pollution linked to 7 million deaths worldwide

A view of the Kuala Lumpur city centre covered by haze. (REUTERS/Samsul Said)

A view of the Kuala Lumpur city centre covered by haze. (REUTERS/Samsul Said)

The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that air pollution caused the deaths of 7 million people in 2012, according to BBC News.

According to WHO, air pollution is “the world’s largest single environmental health risk”— one in eight global deaths were linked with air pollution. The largest number of related deaths were in South East Asia and the WHO’s Western Pacific region, mainly in low- and middle-income countries.

Risks associated with air pollution, including heart disease, stroke, respiratory problems and cancer, pose a greater threat than previously thought. The majority of air pollution deaths were linked with cardiovascular diseases— in total, 40 percent of deaths related to outdoor pollution were due to heart disease.

“Few risks have a greater impact on global health today than air pollution,” WHO public health, environmental and social determinants of health department director Dr. Maria Neira said. “The evidence signals the need for concerted action to clean up the air we all breathe.”

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