Air pollution shaves off years of global life expectancy, a shocking new study has found.
Researchers found that in the United States and the United Kingdom the life expectancy of someone who was born today would only have decreased by an average of four months, but in other countries this was much worse.
In countries affected by air pollution, such as India and Egypt, this rose to 1.5 years and almost two years, respectively.
In May, the World Health Organization selected the capital of India, New Dehli, and the capital of Egypt, Cairo, as the two most polluted big cities in the world.
The team, from the University of Texas at Austin, says that research in the past has focused on the number of people who die of air pollution, but that this is the first time that the overall life expectancy has been studied.
Before the study, the team looked at PM2.5 outside air pollution, small particles coming from different sources, including power plants, exhaust systems, aircraft, forest fires and dust storms.
Due to the small size, PM2.5 particles stay in the air longer than heavy particles, so the risk is greater that we breathe them.
Moreover, because of their size, they can penetrate deep into the lungs and possibly penetrate the bloodstream.
Studies have shown that exposure to fine particles can increase our risk of lung disease and heart disease and can also aggravate chronic conditions such as asthma and bronchitis.
The WHO currently estimates that seven million people worldwide die from exposure to such pollution every year, with most deaths occurring in low and middle income countries, mainly in Africa and Asia.
The researchers used data from the Global Burden of Disease Study – which measures mortality as a result of diseases, injuries and risk factors – to look at exposure to PM2.5 air pollution and its consequences in 185 countries.
Then they looked at the life expectancy of each country and the global impact.
Findings showed that it was ashamed for an average of four months for the US and the UK, but in other countries it was worse.
It reduced the life expectancy of the average Russian by nine months, and reduced it by a year and a half in India and nearly two years in Egypt.
In Egypt, the smog that appears above Cairo and the surrounding cities is known as the "black cloud", which accounts for approximately 42 percent of air pollution in the country, according to the Egyptian Ministry of Environment.
It comes from a number of factors including exhaust from cars, farmers stacking and rice burning rice straw, and the absence of trees in the country's capital.
In 2017, the United Nations Environment Program published a report stating that 40,000 people in Egypt had died from pollution.
When it came to calculating the global average, it was about a year.
"We know that air pollution kills people, we've known for a while," said Dr. Joshua Apte, assistant professor at the Department of Public Health at the University of Texas at Austin, to Daily Mail Online.
& # 39; The overall impact of air pollution is great and what we do is place the health benefits of addressing air pollution in the right context.
For example, it could lead to a life expectancy equal to or greater than curing certain import cancers such as lung cancer and breast cancer. & # 39;
He added that the reason that cure for cancer has been studied more, is that it is easier to quantify them.
"Identifying the impact of air pollution is difficult because you have to do large studies against a large population", said Dr. Apte.
& # 39; But a doctor can clearly see when it is cancer and identify it. It is easier to say "this person has cancer" than "this person becomes nauseated by air pollution". & # 39;
Dr Apte added that for countries like India and China, which are more polluted, work to reduce dust particles in the air and smog offers even greater benefits.
In India and China, more polluted countries, 60-year-olds, if there would be no air pollution today, would have a higher chance of turning 85 or higher, & # 39; he said.
& # 39; That's an opportunity of 15 to 20 percent to live longer. In more polluted countries life expectancy is much lower and the improvement of air pollution can help. & # 39;
In June, an essay by two Harvard scientists stated that changes in environmental policy as proposed by the Trump government could lead to an additional 80,000 US deaths per decade.
David Cutler, an economist in the field of public health, and Francesca Dominici, a biostatistician, wrote that clearing the Clean Power Plan will lead to an estimated 36,000 deaths and a withdrawal of emission requirements for certain vehicles will lead to an estimated 14,000 deaths.
They claim that the changing policies can cause respiratory problems for more than a million people over a decade, including many children.
The essay, which is not a formally peer-reviewed study, has contributed to a growing debate about what many see as an attack by the Trump government on environmental health policy.
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