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Environ Sci Technol. 2015 Jul 7;49(13):8057-66. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.5b01236. Epub 2015 Jun 16.

Addressing Global Mortality from Ambient PM2.5.

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†Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, University of Texas, 301 E. Dean Keeton St., Stop C1700, Austin, Texas 78712, United States.
‡Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geo- Engineering, University of Minnesota, 500 Pillsbury Drive SE, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455, United States.
§Health Effects Institute, Suite 500, 101 Federal Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02110, United States.
∥School of Population and Public Health, The University of British Columbia, 2206 East Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T1Z3, Canada.


Ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5) has a large and well-documented global burden of disease. Our analysis uses high-resolution (10 km, global-coverage) concentration data and cause-specific integrated exposure-response (IER) functions developed for the Global Burden of Disease 2010 to assess how regional and global improvements in ambient air quality could reduce attributable mortality from PM2.5. Overall, an aggressive global program of PM2.5 mitigation in line with WHO interim guidelines could avoid 750 000 (23%) of the 3.2 million deaths per year currently (ca. 2010) attributable to ambient PM2.5. Modest improvements in PM2.5 in relatively clean regions (North America, Europe) would result in surprisingly large avoided mortality, owing to demographic factors and the nonlinear concentration-response relationship that describes the risk of particulate matter in relation to several important causes of death. In contrast, major improvements in air quality would be required to substantially reduce mortality from PM2.5 in more polluted regions, such as China and India. Moreover, forecasted demographic and epidemiological transitions in India and China imply that to keep PM2.5-attributable mortality rates (deaths per 100 000 people per year) constant, average PM2.5 levels would need to decline by ∼20-30% over the next 15 years merely to offset increases in PM2.5-attributable mortality from aging populations. An effective program to deliver clean air to the world's most polluted regions could avoid several hundred thousand premature deaths each year.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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