14 December 2012

Air pollution and health: IIASA contributes to global health report

A new international report provides an unprecedented picture of global health problems and their causes. IIASA researchers contributed data on air pollution exposure to the report.

pollution and people © Samrat35 | Dreamstime.com

pollution and people © Samrat35 | Dreamstime.com

Outdoor air pollution worldwide contributes to over 3 million premature deaths annually, according to a new study published as part of the Global Burden of Disease report. The report, which assessed the global burden of diseases, risk factors, and injuries on health around the world, was published today in a special series of articles in The Lancet. The study was based on data from 2010, and updates and expands upon previous reports from 2005 and 1990. The report is the largest effort to date to quantify health risks at a global scale.

IIASA researcher Markus Amann contributed to global estimates of exposure to outdoor air pollution, including small particulates and ozone. The new report for the first time provides a global picture of air pollution, estimating exposure in rural as well as urban areas.  Fine particles, which come from a number of sources including factories and fires, can get into lungs and tissues and lead to lung and heart problems. According to the report, outdoor particulate pollution contributed to 3.1 million premature deaths in 2010.

Ozone, a component of smog that forms when sunlight shines on certain air pollutants, can lead to a variety of health problems and worsen lung diseases like bronchitis and asthma. The report assessed ozone as having contributed to 200,000 premature deaths in 2010.

The Global Burden of Disease report was led by a consortium of researchers including Harvard University, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Queensland, and the World Health Organization (WHO). Summary papers from the report are available from The Lancet.

More information: http://www.globalburden.org/


Lim, et. al., 2010. A comparative risk assessment of burden of disease and injury attributable to 67 risk factors and risk factor clusters in 21 regions, 1990–2010: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010. The Lancet - 15 December 2012 ( Vol. 380, Issue 9859, Pages 2224-2260 ) DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(12)61766-8  http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2812%2961766-8/abstract

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Last edited: 17 December 2012


Markus Amann

Program Director

Air Quality and Greenhouse Gases

T +43(0) 2236 807 432

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313