Low levels of air pollution deadlier than previously thought

The World Health Organization’s most recent estimates (2016) are that over 4.2 million people die prematurely each year due to long-term exposure to fine particulate outdoor air pollution (often referred to as PM2.5,). A recent study now suggests that the annual global death toll from outdoor PM2.5 may be significantly higher than previously thought. That’s because the researchers found that mortality risk was increased even at very low levels of outdoor PM2.5, ones which had not previously been recognized as being potentially deadly, causing as many as 1.5 million additional deaths around the globe each year.

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