Sunday, February 21, 2016

How Can Breathing Kill You?

New studies from the University of Washington show that in 2013 over 5.5 million people died prematurely from air pollution. More than half of these deaths occurred in China and India. This data was presented at the 2016 annual meeting of the American Association of the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to show that efforts to decrease pollutants are not strong enough, and need to be reassessed. Decreasing pollutants would be a very efficient way to increase the health of a population. It is the leading environmental risk factor for disease and the fourth highest risk factor for death globally. In China the largest contributor to deaths is from coal, leading to about 366,000 deaths in 2013. On the other hand, in India, burning wood, dung, and biomass is the leading contributor to air pollution. Although major strategies have been implemented to decrease air pollution, it is evident from the newly presented research that we must reassess them in order to increase the health of the endangered populations in the world.
New research shows that more than 5.5 million people die prematurely every year due to household and outdoor air pollution. More than half of deaths occur in two of the world's fastest growing economies, China and India. Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), University of Washington 2016.

This research can be used identify actions to best improve public health. By implementing the most effective strategies, we can save lives and breathe deeply knowing the air will not kill us.

Additional Facts on Pollution:

  • World Health Organization (WHO) air quality guidelines set daily particulate matter at 25 micrograms per cubic meter.
  • At this time of the year, Beijing and New Delhi will see daily levels at or above 300 micrograms per cubic meter metre; 1,200 per cent higher than WHO guidelines.
  • According to the Global Burden of Disease study, air pollution causes more deaths than other risk factors like malnutrition, obesity, alcohol and drug abuse, and unsafe sex. It is the fourth greatest risk behind high blood pressure, dietary risks and smoking. 
  • Cardiovascular disease accounts for the majority of deaths from air pollution with additional impacts from lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and respiratory infections. 
 References: 

University of British Columbia. "Poor air quality kills 5.5 million worldwide annually." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 February 2016. 

Posted by “Dasha Agoulnik” (1).

9 comments:

  1. I actually had the opportunity to travel the Cambodia in the summer of 2015. During my time there, I had to wear a mask when traveling inside the capital. The air was too polluted, not enforcing laws that protects the environment puts everyone at health risks. It is interesting to see how quickly will country like China do a 180 in improving their environment.

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    1. I actually had the opportunity to travel the Cambodia in the summer of 2015. During my time there, I had to wear a mask when traveling inside the capital. The air was too polluted, not enforcing laws that protects the environment puts everyone at health risks. It is interesting to see how quickly will country like China do a 180 in improving their environment

      David Mota

      "Forgot to write my name"

      Delete
    2. Wow that sounds like an incredible trip! What a different culture, because when we see people wearing face masks (likely due to their "norms" in the city), in America we automatically assume they're just sick. I wonder if America will ever follow in this pollution mask wearing trend...

      Dasha Agoulnik

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  2. It’s not surprising that such large, industrial countries such as China have great pollution problems. I wonder whether China is looking into spending more money to find alternative resources than coal to power the factories and to better the health of the people. Are there are other strategies, other than renewable resources that China is working on, or is China not acknowledging this pollution problem altogether?

    Yustina Kang (Group 2)

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    1. I'm sure they're not completely ignoring the pollution problem. However, I was interested by the fact that they are finding these pollution prevention implementations aren't working. The research is valuable in progressing our efforts to positively impact the public health.


      Dasha Agoulnik

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  3. My family is from the Philippines and I go over there every once and awhile. The pollution tho is awful, especially in Manila (the capital). I think one major contributor is the number of people that live in the city which I feel is the same issue in China and India. There is no control of the exponential rate of the growing population in these countries and it seems that overpopulated cities tend to contribute to the pollution that is present. The Philippines is a third world country too, so there really is not enough money and/or resources to solve such a huge problem .

    Sarah Ona

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  4. We live in a world full of pollution. We have air pollution, water pollution, noise pollution and soil pollution. All these are because of our actions and they are affecting us negatively. It is obvious that more crowded cities are more polluted. Governments should take more actions to control pollution.

    Mohammed Saleh

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  5. This is a wonderful post on how breathing in anything that isn't pure air is very bad for human health. I am curious to know what exactly in air pollutants causes these health issues and how the body is able to cope with these bad air conditions.

    -Michael Sheikhai

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  6. I do believe that we live in an age where our actions are hindering not only us, but our future generations as well. Pollution, along with global warming, is one of the many factors that is hindering our planet. Given that air pollution primarily occurs in countries that are overly populated, it is time for policies to be reformed and ratified in order to help save us, humans, and the planet.

    -Soffie Jobarteh

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