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Global burden of disease – the air pollution contribution

Exposure to ambient air pollution increases morbidity and mortality, and is a leading contributor to global disease burden. This study explored spatial and temporal trends in mortality and burden of disease attributable to ambient air pollution from 1990 to 2015 at global, regional, and country levels.

The study found that ambient PM2·5 was the fifth-ranking mortality risk factor in 2015.

Exposure to PM2·5 in 2015 caused 4·2 million deaths (95% uncertainty interval (UI) 3.7-4.8 million), representing 7·6% of total global deaths, 59% of these in east and south Asia. This was a substantial increase from an estimated 3·5 million deaths attributable to exposure to ambient PM2.5 in 1990 (95% UI 3.0-4.0 million). The increase is due to population ageing, changes in non-communicable disease rates, and increasing air pollution in low-income and middle-income countries.

[Source: The Lancet, 10 April 2017]