The cumulative effect of air pollution can have a serious effect on our health, shortening life spans. The loss of life expectancy exceeds tobacco smoking. According to a recent study by a German team, ambient air pollution causes significant excess mortality, causing loss of life expectancy (LLE) across the world. Published in the journal Cardiovascular Research, the study was based on data collected from across the world.
The team used atmospheric data, combining it with health records in their research. They utilized a data-informed atmospheric model to gauge the PM2.5 exposure and ozone pollution. This was compared with a loss of life expectancy and disease-specific excess mortality in 2015. The team also determined the different sources that contribute to air pollution, namely anthropogenic emissions (such as fossil fuel use) and natural sources (such as wildfire).
The team estimated that ambient air pollution caused excess mortality, largely through cardiovascular diseases. The excess mortality caused by ambient air pollution across the world falls ranges between 7.11 and 10.41 million a year. LLE was calculated at an average of 2.9 years. It exceeded tobacco smoking. East Asia and Europe recorded the highest figures in the global mean mortality rate. In terms of elimination, they found that removing fossil fuel emissions the global mean expectancy increased by 1.1 years to 1.7 years. The researchers concluded by terming air pollution as one of the major global health risks we face today.