… fossil fuels caused more than 8 million premature deaths in 2018 alone. These are the lessons of a new study by Harvard researchers in collaboration with the University of Birmingham, the University of Leicester and University College London (UCL). These focused on PM2.5 particles, i.e. atmospheric aerosols with a diameter of no more than 2.5 μm, which, according to the World Health Organization, are the most harmful to human health among all atmospheric pollutants. These come from various sources, such as forest fires, car exhaust pipes, or the burning of fossil fuels.
Due to their small size, they are able to penetrate our lungs and circulatory system, and in the long term, cause respiratory diseases, such as asthma or lung and vascular cancer, such as heart problems or strokes. Burning fossil fuels produces toxin-laden tiny particles that are small enough to get deep into the lungs. The risk of inhaling these particles, called PM2.5, is well documented. Our research only adds further evidence that air pollution from continued dependence on fossil fuels is detrimental to global health. With this in mind, we cannot continue to rely on fossil fuels when we know very well that they have such serious effects on health and life, and there are cleaner alternatives, explains one researcher, Professor Eloise Marais.
After many detailed analyzes, incl. distinguishing PM2.5 from forest fires from burning fossil fuels, they found that the latter caused more than 8 million premature deaths in 2018 alone. Half of this is in China and India, and the next million is almost equally distributed between Bangladesh, Japan, Indonesia and the United States. As for Asia as a whole, a toxic cocktail of oil, gas and coal combustion products is responsible for a quarter, if not more, of deaths. ‘We often discuss the dangers of fossil fuels in terms of CO2 and climate change, and ignore the health effects,’ explains Professor Joel Schwartz of the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health.
Adding that this ability to avoid millions of premature deaths should be an additional powerful argument for policymakers who have the opportunity to cut emissions and accelerate the global transition to green energy. Especially that the estimates made on this occasion show that around the world air pollution shortens our lives by an average of more than two years, and there are places where the situation is extremely painful, such as the aforementioned Asia – life in China is shortened by 4.1 years, India 3 , 9 years, and in Pakistan by 3.8 years, and in some regions of these countries by even … twice this number. In Europe, the situation is much better and there is talk of an average reduction in our lives of 8 months, which, however, does not change the fact that the latest research in this regard almost doubles the estimates from previous ones, so the problem of premature deaths due to fossil fuel pollution is only growing.
Source: GeekWeek.pl – Wiadomości by www.geekweek.pl.
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