Air pollution killed 500k newborns in 2019: global study

22 Octobre, 2020, 10:04 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Air pollution contributes to more than 116,000 infant deaths in India

The new analysis estimated what percentage of those deaths came from ambient and household air pollution.

Air pollution costs Euro 166 billion per year in Europe, according to a report released on Wednesday, October 21, that examined the costs of premature death, medical treatment, and lost working days in 432 European cities, local Agerpres reported.

Pollution has emerged as one of the biggest slow-and-silent killers of our time. The report underscores the urgency to prioritise this need. According to the State of Global Air, 2020, a report on global exposure to air pollution, released by Health Effects Institute (HEI) on Wednesday, air pollution is the biggest health risk in India.

"Outdoor and household particulate matter pollution contributed to the death of more than 1,16,000 Indian infants in their first month of life in 2019".

Almost two-thirds of babies' deaths worldwide were linked to use of solid fuels such as charcoal, wood, and animal dung for cooking. The State of Global Air report also estimates that almost 21% of neonatal deaths from all causes are attributable to ambient and household air pollution.

More recently, the National Clean Air Programme has spurred action on major air pollution sources in cities and states around the country. It flagged that over half of these deaths in India were associated with outdoor PM2.5.

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The report said that in 2019, more than 4.1 million people died due to long-term PM 2.5 exposure.

In total it said air pollution cost the United Kingdom almost £19 billion a year.

According to the study, when mothers are exposed to high levels of air pollution, it can bring a higher risk of their bearing babies that have a low birth weight or arrive preterm. Reacting to the findings, she said, "Only "chulha" pollution related health risk has declined due to improved access to clean energy".

This report comes as Covid-19, a disease for which people with heart and lung disease are particularly at risk of infection and death, has claimed more than 110,000 lives in India.

The report also said there is clear evidence linking air pollution and increased heart and lung disease, creating a growing concern that exposures to high levels of air pollution could exacerbate the effects of COVID-19.

The study highlights the ongoing challenge of high outdoor air pollution - South Asian countries, including India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal feature among the top 10 countries with the highest PM2.5 exposures in 2019; all of these countries experienced increases in outdoor PM2.5 levels between 2010 and 2019. "The interaction of Covid-19 with the continued global rise in chronic illness and related risk factors, including obesity, high blood sugar, and outdoor air pollution, over the past 30 years has created a flawless storm, fuelling Covid-19 deaths", said Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at University of Washington, Seattle, USA.



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