Scientists: Air pollution led to more than 5.5 million premature deaths in 2013

The Guardian reports: Air pollution caused more than 5.5 million people to die prematurely in 2013, according to research presented on Friday, with more than half of those deaths in India and China and illnesses in those countries almost certain to rise.

According to scientists from the US, Canada, China and India, who presented their findings at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Washington DC, conditions caused by air pollution killed 1.6 million people in China and 1.4 million people in India in 2013.

“Air pollution is the fourth-highest risk factor for death globally and by far the leading environmental risk factor for disease,” said Michael Brauer, a researcher from the University of British Columbia.

Brauer said air pollution contributed to heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, bronchitis, emphysema and acute infections.

He and his colleagues compared the problem in Asia to the conditions under centuries of industrial revolution in the US and Europe: massive economic growth smothered by clouds of toxic matter in the air. [Continue reading…]

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