"Air Pollution Now Kills More People Than High Cholesterol"

"The Lancet recently unveiled a major overview of global health risks -- and one of the most eye-catching papers highlighted just how deadly air pollution has become over the past two decades."

"In 2010, 3.2 million people died prematurely from outdoor air pollution, mainly in Asia, and mainly from soot and other pollutants from diesel cars and trucks. That means outdoor air pollution is now a bigger health risk than high cholesterol -- and, along with obesity, one of the fastest-growing health risks in the world. (Air pollution only killed about 800,000 people worldwide in 1990, although measurements were much cruder back then.)

The Lancet study also found that indoor air pollution, largely from smoky coal- or wood-burning cook stoves in countries in Africa, and in India, caused some 3.5 million premature deaths in 2010. That number has tumbled over the past two decades, but it’s still high. Efforts to promote cleaner-burning cook stoves in the developing world have been fairly sluggish, although the problem has attracted plenty of global attention in recent years."

Brad Plumer reports for the Washington Post December 20, 2012.

Source: Wash Post, 12/21/2012