Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health Links Pollution to Nine Million Premature Deaths in 2015

On October 19th, 2017, the Lancet Commission released a report on pollution and health said by NIEHS Hazardous Substances Branch Chief Bill Suk, Ph.D., to be “the first analysis to report the impacts of all kinds of pollution in all parts of the world, both health and economic.” The report took two years to develop and was authored by more than 40 international health and environmental experts, including Bill Suk.

The report indicates, among many other enlightening findings, that pollution was linked to nine million deaths worldwide in the year of 2015, most of which “were due to non-communicable diseases caused by pollution such as heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.” Of the pollution-related deaths that year, indoor and outdoor air pollution–linked to 6.5 million deaths–was the biggest contributor. The second and third biggest contributors in 2015 were water pollution, linked to 1.8 million deaths, and workplace-related pollution, linked to 0.8 million deaths, respectively. Worldwide, these pollution-related premature deaths made up one in six of all mortalities that year, 92% of which took place in low and low- and middle-income countries, especially those going through rapid industrialization such as India, Pakistan, China, Bangladesh, Madagascar and Kenya.

The PROTECT Center researches the ways in which maternal health and birth outcomes are impacted by environmental issues related to hazardous substances, so these findings hit particularly close to home.

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