Wednesday June 26, 2019

Reality check: EU spends 1/10th of GDP to deal with health problems caused by air pollution

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

According to a major piece of information released by a UN study, Europe spent around US$ 1.6 trillion as the economic cost of 600,000 premature deaths and diseases caused by air pollution in 2010.

The study published by the WHO Regional Office for Europe and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is the first assessment of the economic burden on countries due to deaths and diseases caused by indoor and outdoor air pollution.

As per statistics, premature deaths cost $1.4 trillion while the cost for treatment of diseases add an extra 10% to raise the figure to $1.6 trillion. The report also found that out of the 53 countries assessed, 10 countries spent 20% or more of their GDP to deal with the problem.

The study also found that 90% of the people in the region of study were exposed to fine particulate matter that are above WHO’s air quality guidelines. This led to 482,000 premature deaths in 2012 from heart and respiratory diseases, blood vessel conditions and strokes, and lung cancer and 117,200 premature deaths due to indoor pollution.

“Curbing the health effects of air pollution pays dividends. The evidence we have provides decision-makers across the whole of government with a compelling reason to act. If different sectors come together on this, we not only save more lives but also achieve results that are worth astounding amounts of money,” says Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe.

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Study: Air Pollution Linked to Metabolic Syndrome, Hypertension and Cardiovascular Diseases

Hypertension and metabolic syndrome are important causes of cardiovascular diseases, the researchers said

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air pollution, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension
Hypertension and metabolic syndrome are important causes of cardiovascular diseases, the researchers said. Pixabay

People who are exposed to high pollution levels are at significantly higher risk of suffering from hypertension, metabolic syndrome and heart diseases, says a new study.

In the study, published in Journal of Public Health, the researchers investigated the associations between a long-term exposure to ambient air pollution and residential distance to green spaces and major roads with the development of hypertension and metabolic syndrome components such as a high triglyceride level, reduced high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, higher blood glucose, and obesity.

Hypertension and metabolic syndrome are important causes of cardiovascular diseases, the researchers said. The study’s findings showed that air pollution levels above the median are associated with a higher risk of reduced high density lipoprotein.

air pollution, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension
The study’s findings showed that air pollution levels above the median are associated with a higher risk of reduced high density lipoprotein. VOA

Traffic-related exposure was associated with the incidence of hypertension, higher triglyceride level and reduced high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. However, the negative impact of traffic air pollutants was observed only in the participants who lived in multifamily buildings.

ALSO READ: Paris to Restrict Car Use as a Measure to Fight Against Surging Air Pollution

The researchers also found positive effects of the natural environment, and have emphasized the positive impact of such spaces on cardiovascular health.

“Our research results enable us to say that we should regulate as much as possible the living space for one person in multifamily houses, improve the noise insulation of apartments, and promote the development of green spaces in multifamily houses” said study’s lead author Agn Brazien. (IANS)