The UN's Environment Programme says national plans to cut carbon pollution amount to 'weak promises, not yet delivered' - Copyright AFP -
Air pollution has long been connected to an array of ill-health issues. Air pollution leads people to be exposed to fine particles in polluted air that penetrate deep into the lungs and cardiovascular system. The conditions of concern include breathing difficulties, heart disease and stroke.
To add to these well documented issues, some new areas of research show how our understanding of the risks of air pollution is increasing. These case studies demonstrate why governments need to work together to ameliorate the impact of the types of human industrial activity that are contributing to air pollution.
Connection with lung cancer
To add to the burden, scientists from China have identified a mechanism that explains how fine air pollution particles might cause lung cancer.
This risk arises because tiny, inhalable fine particulate matter found in air pollutants has been recognised as a Group 1 carcinogen and a substantial threat to global health. As to how the cancer-causing mechanism of these particles exerts the adverse effect requires further investigation.
Association with premature death
The cancer-connected news further adds to the association between air pollution and premature death. Air pollution could be causing double the number of extra deaths a year in Europe than has been estimated previously, according to a study from the European Society of Cardiology. This means that air pollution causes more extra deaths a year than tobacco smoking.
In terms of other concern stied to air pollution, George Washington University found that nine to 33 million visits to the emergency room for asthma worldwide may be triggered by breathing in air polluted by ozone or fine particulate matter (the pollutants that can enter the lung’s deep airways).
The same research study found that five to 10 million asthma emergency room visits every year (4 to 9 percent of total global asthma visits) are linked to fine particulate matter and about half of the asthma emergency room visits can be attributed to dirty air were estimated to occur in South and East Asian countries, notably India and China.
Air pollution heightens the risk of COVID-19 infection among young adults, a finding that ties air pollution to the most recent of pathogenic outbreaks. In general, regions with poor air quality have more cases of COVID-19, pointing to a potential link between the virus and rates of infection. More specifically, exposure to certain traffic-related air pollutants can increase the risk of contracting the coronavirus by 7 percent