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WHO: Air pollution kills seven million a year - over half from stoves

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
3/26/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

One out of every eight global deaths in 2012 was linked to polluted air

According to the World Health Organization, or WHO, air pollution kills about seven million people worldwide annually. Polluted air is now the single biggest environmental health risk. The chief origin of all this tainted air, it has been found, are from fumes from indoor stoves.

Poor and middle-income countries in Southeast Asia and the western Pacific region had the largest air pollution-related burden in 2012, with 3.3 million deaths linked to indoor air pollution and 2.6 million deaths to outdoor air pollution.

Poor and middle-income countries in Southeast Asia and the western Pacific region had the largest air pollution-related burden in 2012, with 3.3 million deaths linked to indoor air pollution and 2.6 million deaths to outdoor air pollution.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
3/26/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in Green

Keywords: Indoor stoves, air pollution, deaths


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Maria Neira, head of the WHO's environmental and social public health department, says that the new information is crucial to improving the global community's health. "The evidence signals the need for concerted action to clean up the air we all breathe . The risks from air pollution are now far greater than previously thought or understood, particularly for heart disease and strokes."

One out of every eight global deaths in 2012 was linked to polluted air. Reducing pollution inside and outside people's homes could save millions of lives in the future, the United Nations health agency said.

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"Excessive air pollution is often a byproduct of unsustainable policies in sectors such as transport, energy, waste management and industry," Carlos Dora, a WHO public health expert says. Calling on governments and health agencies to devise policies to reduce air pollution, he added that "In most cases, healthier strategies will also be more economical in the long term due to health care cost savings as well as climate gains."

Deaths linked to air pollution are most commonly from heart disease, strokes or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. One of the main risks of pollution is that tiny particles can get deep into the lungs, causing irritation.

One method that is counter-productive, experts say, is by wearing masks, which sends out the message we can live with polluted air. The world needs to change its way of life entirely to reduce pollution.

The WHO estimated that there were about 4.3 million deaths in 2012 caused by indoor air pollution, from using wood, coal and biomass stoves for cooking and heating. It said there were about 3.7 million deaths from outdoor air pollution in 2012, of which nearly 90 percent were in developing countries.

These figures more than double, show that the increase is partly due to better information about the health effects of pollution and improved detection methods. The WHO's cancer agency last year classified air pollution as a carcinogen, linking dirty air to lung and bladder cancer.

Poor and middle-income countries in Southeast Asia and the western Pacific region had the largest air pollution-related burden in 2012, with 3.3 million deaths linked to indoor air pollution and 2.6 million deaths to outdoor air pollution.

It's estimated that 2.9 billion people worldwide live in homes using wood, coal or dung as their primary cooking fuel.

Outdoors, air is mainly polluted by vehicles, power generation, industrial and agricultural emissions and residential heating and cooking.

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