"Dirty air in India and China. Tainted water in sub-Saharan Africa. Toxic mining and smelter operations in South America. Pollution around the globe now contributes to an estimated 9 million deaths annually — or roughly one in six — according to an in-depth new study published Thursday in the Lancet. If accurate, that means pollution kills three times more people each year than HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined, with most of those deaths in poor and developing countries.
'Going into this, my colleagues and I knew that pollution killed a lot of people. But we certainly did not have any idea of the total magnitude of the problem,' said Philip Landrigan, dean of global health at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and co-chair of the commission behind the report. 'I think all of us were really surprised when we saw this.'
The two-year project, which relied on data from researchers in more than 130 countries documenting the causes of disease and premature deaths in recent decades, found that poor air quality was the most significant pollution-related killer. That includes both outdoor pollution tainted by mercury, arsenic and other harmful particulates, and household air dirtied by the burning of wood, dung and other organic materials. The result: An estimated 6.5 million deaths in 2015 from heart disease, strokes, lung cancer and other respiratory problems."