University of Texas at Austin: Research shows that air pollution can reduce life expectancy by two years
A shocking new study finds that air pollution is reducing life expectancy worldwide. The United Kingdom and the United States have only been reduced by an average of four months, but in other countries, the situation is much more serious. For example, in the two major air pollution areas in India and Egypt, life expectancy has decreased by 1.5 years and 2 years respectively. In May of this year, WHO listed India’s capital New Delhi and the Egyptian capital Cairo as the two most polluted cities in the world.
The University of Texas Austin team responsible for the study said that the focus of previous research was on the number of deaths due to air pollution. This is the first time scientists have investigated the impact of air pollution on overall life expectancy.
The team’s main indicator is PM2.5. PM2.5 is a kind of tiny particles, mainly produced from power plants, exhaust systems, aircraft, forest fires, sandstorms and so on. Because it is too small, PM2.5 particles can be suspended in the air for a long time and are more easily inhaled by the human body. Also because of their small size, they can penetrate deep into the lungs and may even enter the human circulatory system. Studies have shown that exposure to particulate environments increases the risk of heart disease, even severe chronic diseases such as asthma and bronchitis.
According to WHO statistics, there are currently 7 million people killed worldwide due to such pollution, and most of them are distributed in low- and middle-income countries, mainly in Africa and Asia.
Using data from the Global Burden of Disease Study, the researchers examined the severity and consequences of PM2.5 air pollution in 185 countries, and then analyzed the average life expectancy of each country and the impact on global life expectancy. The results showed that the life expectancy of the United Kingdom and the United States was reduced by four months due to air pollution, but the situation in other countries was much more serious. Russia has been reduced for nine months, India for one and a half years, and Egypt has been reduced for nearly two years.
The Egyptian capital Cairo and its surrounding cities are shrouded in thick smog all year round. According to statistics from the Egyptian Ministry of the Environment, the “black cloud” accounts for about 42% of the country’s air pollution. There are many reasons for these pollutions, including automobile exhaust, burning straw, and the low greening rate in Cairo.
The picture above shows the global life expectancy reduction. The picture below shows the increase in life expectancy of the air pollution problem.
In 2017, UNEP issued a report that more than 40,000 Egyptians have died from pollution. But to calculate the number of people who die from pollution on a global scale, it takes a year to count.
‘We have long known that air pollution can kill people.’ Dr Joshua Apte, assistant professor of population health at the University of Texas at Austin, said, ‘The impact of air pollution is huge. What we are doing now is Public health is also taken into account when addressing air pollution problems. If this problem can be solved, the impact on global life expectancy may be greater than the cure for cancer and breast cancer.’
He added that scientists have studied cancer therapy more because it is easier to quantify.
‘Analying the impact of air pollution is very difficult, because you have to look at a large population, and the scale of the research is too large. But it is easy for doctors to diagnose cancer. To say that ‘this person has cancer’ is comparable to saying that this person is sick because of air pollution. ‘It’s much easier.’
Dr. Apt also added that in countries with serious pollution such as China and India, solving air dust and haze will have even greater benefits.
‘In India and China, if there is no air pollution at present, the elderly in their 60s will have greater hopes to live above 85 years old, and 15% to 20% of the opportunities will live longer. The per capita life of countries with serious pollution is even more Low, and improving air pollution will help solve this problem.’
In June, two Harvard scientists published a paper saying that Trump’s changes to environmental policy would cause the United States to die 80,000 more every 10 years.
Public health economist David Cutler and biostatistician Francesca Dominici say the ban on the Clean Power Plan (developed by the Obama administration) It is expected to cause 36,000 deaths, and the abolition of emissions from specific vehicles will result in the death of approximately 14,000 people. They pointed out that changing environmental policies will also cause more than 1 million people to suffer from respiratory diseases in the next 10 years, many of them children.
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