7 million died in 2012 due to Air pollution: WHO

WHO estimate says that in 2012 around 7 million people died of which 1 in 8 of total global deaths was a result of air pollution exposure.

Created On: Mar 27, 2014 17:17 ISTModified On: Mar 27, 2014 17:16 IST

Estimates released by WHO on 25 March 2014 reports that in 2012 around 7 million people died (1 in 8 persons) as a result of air pollution exposure. In its suggestion it says that reduction of air pollution could save millions of lives.

This finding of WHO has confirmed that in the present world, air pollution is the world’s largest single environmental health risk. This data had revealed a link between that the exposure between the indoor and outdoor air pollution and cardiovascular diseases (strokes and ischaemic heart disease). It also has linked air pollution with the cancer. The report has also linked air pollution with development of respiratory diseases like acute respiratory infections and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases.

Highlights of the findings of the estimate regionally
Low and middle income countries in the WHO South-East Asia and Western Pacific Regions had the largest air pollution-related burden in 2012. The estimates say that indoor air pollution resulted in deaths of total 3.3 million and the outdoor air pollution resulted in 2.6 million deaths.  

Specific disease that causes deaths mainly due to cardiovascular diseases in two cases outdoor air-pollution and indoor pollution.

Outdoor air pollution-caused deaths – breakdown by disease:
• 40% – ischaemic heart disease
• 40% – stroke
• 11% – chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
• 6% - lung cancer
• 3% – acute lower respiratory infections in children

Indoor air pollution-caused deaths – breakdown by disease:
• 34% - stroke
• 26% - ischaemic heart disease
• 22% - COPD
• 12% - acute lower respiratory infections in children
• 6% - lung cancer

These estimates are based on the

• Latest WHO mortality data from 2012
• Evidence of health risks from air pollution exposures


Estimated of the exposure to outdoor air pollution of people in different part of the world was formulated through a new global data mapping that included satellite data, ground-level monitoring measurements and data on pollution emissions from key sources as well as modeling of how pollution drifts in the air.

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