Childhood asthma and autism linked to air pollution

Posted: 7/12/2013

From Medical Daily:

A new study has found that over two million deaths occur each year as a direct result of air pollution. Just last year, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) issued a report that estimated the number of premature deaths from exposure to particulate matter (PM) is likely to more than double to 3.6 million in 2050, mostly in China and India. Premature deaths linked to ground-level ozone is also likely to be highest in China and India in 2050. The countries of North America, of Europe, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand though are not off the hook. According to the OECD report, they "are likely to have one of the highest ozone-related mortality rates in terms of number of deaths per million inhabitants - second only after India - due to the much greater aging of the population in these regions."

In any discussion of pollution, scientists most often point to airborne particulate matter and ozone. PM consists of a mixture of solid and liquid particles suspended in the air and continually varies over time and area in both size and chemical composition. "Bad" ozone, also known as ground level ozone, is not emitted directly into the air, but is created by chemical reactions between oxides of nitrogen and volatile organic compounds in the presence of sunlight. Motor vehicle exhaust, gasoline vapors, emissions from industrial facilities and electric utilities, and chemical solvents are among the sources of oxides of nitrogen and volatile organic compounds. These, then, are the essential components of pollution. Read more.