A new study has found that low levels of air pollution are deadlier than previously thought. The study, published in the journal Nature, found that exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) – tiny air pollution particles that can penetrate deep into the lungs – was associated with a higher risk of death from all causes, including cardiovascular and respiratory disease, and cancer.
Previous studies have mostly looked at the health effects of air pollution at high levels, such as those experienced in Chinese cities. But the new study, led by researchers at the University of British Columbia, looked at data from 20 countries and found that the health effects of air pollution were evident even at low levels.
The study found that for every increase of 10 micrograms of PM2.5 per cubic metre of air, the risk of death from all causes rose by 18%. The findings held true even when the researchers controlled for other factors, such as smoking, diet and socio-economic status.
The study’s lead author, Joel Kaufman, said the findings should be a “wake-up call” to policy-makers. “This is something we can change,” he said. “It’s not like genes or income inequality.”
The researchers said the findings showed the need for stricter limits on air pollution, especially PM2.5. The current limit in the European Union is 25 micrograms per cubic metre, but the World Health Organization recommends a limit of 10 micrograms.
The new study is likely to add to the pressure on policy-makers to tighten limits on air pollution. The findings come just a week after the European Court of Justice ruled that the EU was breaching its own air quality standards.
The court found that the bloc had failed to take “effective measures” to reduce levels of particulate matter, and ordered it to take immediate action. The ruling could force the EU to tighten its emissions standards, which would have an impact on a wide range of industries, from power plants to vehicle manufacturers.
A new study has found that low levels of air pollution are even more deadly than previously thought. The study, which was published in the journal Nature, looked at data from over half a million people in China.
The researchers found that deaths from cardiovascular disease increased by 8% for every 10 micrograms per cubic meter increase in PM2.5 levels. PM2.5 are tiny particles of pollution that can penetrate deep into the lungs and are linked to a range of health problems.
Previous studies had estimated that the health impacts of air pollution were roughly double what the new study found. However, those studies had looked at all levels of pollution, including high levels that are known to be extremely harmful.
The new study is the first to focus specifically on low levels of pollution, and the findings are alarming. They suggest that even levels of pollution that are currently considered safe can have a significant impact on health.
The study highlights the need for stricter limits on air pollution, both in China and other countries with high levels of pollution. It is clear that the current levels of pollution are unacceptable and are putting people’s health at risk.