Researchers, publishing in PNAS, looked at global estimates of mortality associated with longterm exposure air pollution.
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Dr Stefan Reis, Head of Atmospheric Chemistry and Effects at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), said:
“These new findings could substantially change our estimates for the effectiveness and positive health effects of reducing population exposure to ambient air pollution. With a specific focus on outdoor air pollution, the study suggests that we may currently underestimate the health benefits of e.g. reducing exposure to PM2.5. Considering the change in estimates between this study for Non-Communicable Diseases and Lower Respiratory Infections (NCD+LRI), and previous estimates using the Integrated Exposure–Response (IER) model for instance for Western Europe, a 20% reduction of population-weighted PM2.5 concentrations would avoid about twice as many excess deaths from air pollution. If generally adopted, this method could lead to major adjustments in assessing the public health benefits of interventions to reduce PM2.5 even at concentrations below current air quality limit values.”
* ‘Global estimates of mortality associated with longterm exposure to outdoor fine particulate matter’ by Richard Burnett et al. was published in PNAS on Monday 3 September.