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Exposure to even the lowest amounts of pollution raises the risk of an early death, scientists have said following major research.
In the world's largest ever study of toxic air, researchers analysed levels of pollution in 652 cities across 24 countries and regions.
Scientists - Levels - Pollution - Spike - Number
Scientists found when levels of pollution spike, so does the number of deaths, including those from heart failure, asthma and lung diseases.
More than 25million people died from cardiovascular or respiratory diseases over the 30-year study period, including 1.2million in the UK and 14.4million in the US.
Particles - Particulate - Matter - PM - Lungs
Tiny particles, called particulate matter (PM) can be inhaled deep into the lungs where they irritate the lining and enter the bloodstream.
There is no 'safe' level of exposure, scientists said, suggesting current air quality guidelines don't protect public health.
Papers - Yesterday - Pollution - Risk - Depression
It comes after three damning scientific papers published yesterday warned pollution also raises the risk of depression, bipolar disorder and blindness.
Professor Yuming Guo, a co-author of the study from Monash University in Australia, said: 'There's no threshold for the association between particulate matter (PM) and mortality.
Levels - Air - Pollution - Risk - Death
'Even low levels of air pollution can increase the risk of death.'
The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, looked two types of PM – PM2.5 and PM10.
World - Health - Organization - WHO - Guidelines
World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines state the average annual level for these pollutants should be 10 and 20 micrograms per cubic metre respectively.
However, the average annual level of PM2.5 over all cities studied was 35.6 micrograms per cubic meter, and 56 micrograms for PM10.
Researchers - Dr - Haidong - Kan - Fudan
Researchers led by Dr Haidong Kan, from Fudan University in China, compared the death rate at periods when pollution levels were relatively low and when they were relatively high.
When there was a spike in levels of PM, there was also an increase in deaths.
Increase - Micrograms - Meter - Concentration - PM2
For every increase of 10 micrograms per cubic meter in concentration of PM2.5,...
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