Ambiet air pollution and health impacts

Health impacts and consequences

Outdoor air pollution is a major cause of death and disease globally. The health impacts and consequences range from increased hospital admissions and emergency room visits, to increased risk of premature death. An estimated 4.2 million premature deaths globally are linked to ambient air pollution, mainly from heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, and acute respiratory infections in children.

Worldwide ambient air pollution accounts for:

  • 29% of all deaths and disease from lung cancer
  • 17% of all deaths and disease from acute lower respiratory infection
  • 24% of all deaths from stroke
  • 25% of all deaths and disease from ischaemic heart disease
  • 43% of all deaths and disease from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

In children and adults, both short- and long-term exposure to ambient air pollution can lead to reduced lung function, respiratory infections and aggravated asthma. Maternal exposure to ambient air pollution is associated with adverse birth outcomes, such as low birth weight, pre-term birth and small gestational age births. Emerging evidence also suggests ambient air pollution may affect diabetes and neurological development in children. Considering the precise death and disability toll from many of the conditions mentioned are not currently quantified in current estimates, with growing evidence, the burden of disease from ambient air pollution is expected to greatly increase.

Source: World Health Organization.