Air pollution second only to smoking for Chronic Respiratory Disease deaths

More than 800 researchers from over 60 countries collaborated with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington to estimate the burden of chronic respiratory diseases (CRDs) from 1990 to 2019.

The findings show that CRD is now the third leading cause of death globally, responsible for approximately four million deaths in 2019.

selective focus photography of anatomy lungs

According to the study, nearly 460 million people, or just over one in twenty, suffered from CRDs in 2019. Asthma was diagnosed in approximately 60% of these people (approximately 262 million), making it the most common CRD. 

Nearly 80% of CRD deaths were caused by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a category that includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis .

Tobacco was responsible for nearly 1.8 million CRD deaths worldwide in 2019 although this has decreased by 45.7% over the last three decades and the research observes that many countries have not fully implemented tobacco control policies, indicating that there is potential for further reduction of smoking-related deaths.

Air pollution was cited as the second leading risk factor for CRD deaths worldwide in 2019, accounting for around 1.3 million deaths and South Asia accounted for nearly half of them. 

The report says that good progress has been made in lowering age-adjusted rates of deaths but this trend varied by geographical location and gender. Since 1990, the age-adjusted mortality rate has decreased by 41.7%. 

In some regions air pollution has actually overtaken smoking as the primary killer. Household air pollution from solid fuels was the primary risk factor for CRD death rates in Sub-Saharan Africa, disproportionately affecting women.

Globally, the attributed burden of CRDs due to household air pollution has decreased the most but it continues to be a significant burden in this part of the world.

The team emphasise the need for additional efforts to provide modern energy sources for people in these regions. Not only to reduce CRD mortality significantly, but also to improve gender equality, access to affordable and clean energy, climate change as well as protecting terrestrial ecosystems.



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1 year ago

Très bel article, merci aux chercheurs.

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