Life expectancy of many Europeans shortened by atmospheric pollution
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Life expectancy of many Europeans shortened by atmospheric pollution

Flickr/ DAVID HOLT
A photo of a high air pollution day in London
Flickr/ DAVID HOLT

According to a study published in the European Heart Journal today, air pollution could lead to double the number of excess deaths per year in Europe over the number previously estimated. Using a new method of modelling the effects of various sources of outdoor air pollution on mortality rates, the researchers found that it would have caused an estimated 790,000 additional deaths across Europe in 2015 and 659 000 deaths in the 28 Member States of the European Union (EU-28).

Between 40 and 80% of these deaths were due to cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attacks and strokes. Air pollution has caused twice as many deaths from cardiovascular diseases as respiratory diseases.

In Europe, they found that air pollution is responsible for an additional 133 deaths per year per 100,000 inhabitants. This is higher than the planet-wide findings of an additional 120 deaths per year per 100,000 inhabitants.

When looking at different countries, researchers found that air pollution led to an excessive mortality rate of 154 per 100,000 in Germany (reduction of 2.4 years in life expectancy), 136 in Italy (1.9 life expectancy reduction), 150 Poland (life expectancy reduction of 2.8 years), 98 in the United Kingdom (reduction in life expectancy of 1.5 years) and 105 in France (reduction in life expectancy of 1.6 years). The precise figures for Brussels are not available.

The Brussels Times

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