The World Health Organization released a study this week with sobering statistics: One in eight deaths worldwide is attributable to air pollution. In 2012, that was 7 million lives lost due to health problems from exposure to dirty indoor or outdoor air.
Though awareness of this problem has been growing, those numbers are staggering. The data gathered in this study points to a greater risk of heart disease and stroke associated with pollution than was known before. In fact, the majority of air pollution-related deaths result from cardiovascular disease. You can see a breakdown in the pie chart at left.
The results of the study emphasize the importance of breathing clean, fresh air, and the major impact dirty air can have on our health. Dr. Maria Neira, Director of WHO’s Department for Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health emphasized the importance of addressing this major issue. “Few risks have a greater impact on global health today than air pollution; the evidence signals the need for concerted action to clean up the air we all breathe,” Neira said.