Air pollution causing 3.3 million premature deaths

Air pollution causing 3.3 million premature deaths

Study says farming is contributing to soot and smog related deaths.

According to a new study, worldwide air pollution is killing 3.3 million people each year, and the study says farming is playing a large roll in the deaths from smog and soot.

A report from says scientists in Germany, Cyprus and Saudi Arabia and at Harvard University have calculated the most detailed estimate of problems of air pollution.  The study warns that unless trends change, the death toll will double to 6.6 million per year by 2050.

Lead author Jos Lelieveld, at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Germany reported that almost 75 percent of the deaths are a result of strokes and heart attacks.  Lelieveld added air pollution is responsible for more deaths than HIV and malaria combined.
China is the leader in deaths due to air pollution, with almost 1.4 million each year.  India, with 645,000, and Pakistan, with 110,000 are next.  The United States ranks seventh, with 54,905 air-pollution related deaths per year.  Power plant pollution is the major cause in the U.S., with 16,929 deaths, followed closely by agriculture with 16,221.
Agriculture is blamed for the largest number of deaths in the Northeastern United States, Europe, Japan and South Korea.  Overall, agriculture ranks number two, behind over one million deaths due to developing nations burning wood and biofuels for in-home heating and cooking.
In much of the western part of the U.S., the main cause of death is traffic emissions, while the central part of the country suffers from smog and soot from coal-fired power plants.
Lelieveld says the problem with farming is due to fertilizer and animal waste, specifically ammonia, which combines with sulfates from power plants and nitrates from automobile exhaust to form soot particles.
Experts say about 6 percent of global deaths occur prematurely due to ambient air pollution.
Some scientists outside of the study group dispute the 6.6 million by 2050 number, saying they believe China will greatly reduce their air pollution by that time and slow down the increase.

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