Pollution and Environmental Risks Kill 1.7 Million Children Each Year, WHO Says

Mar 06, 2017

Pollution and environmental risks are responsible for 1.7 million deaths of children below the age of five, according to two World Health Organization (WHO) reports released Monday.

The reports reveal that 570,000 of children's deaths each year are attributed to respiratory infections, like pneumonia, caused by both indoor and outdoor air pollution, as well as second-hand smoke. Additionally, 270,000 children a year die in their first month from conditions due to air pollution and lack of sanitation, according to the WHO.

"A polluted environment is a deadly one — particularly for young children," Dr. Margaret Chan, director-general of WHO, said in a press release. "Their developing organs and immune systems, and smaller bodies and airways, make them especially vulnerable to dirty air and water."

What the United States Looked Like Before The EPA

Landscape
Here is a selection of some of the best photographs among the EPA's "Project Documerica" collection that shows the impact the EPA has had on the country in the last five decades. An illegal dumping area off the New Jersey Turnpike, facing Manhattan across the Hudson River in 1973. Nearby, to the south, is the landfill area of the proposed Liberty State Park.Gary Miller — National Archives
Landscape
Landscape
Portrait
Landscape
Landscape
Landscape
Portrait
Landscape
Landscape
Portrait
Portrait
Landscape
Landscape
Landscape
Portrait
Landscape
Portrait
Landscape
Portrait
Landscape
Landscape
Portrait
Landscape
Landscape
Landscape
Landscape
Here is a selection of some of the best photographs among the EPA's "Project Documerica" collection that shows the impac
... VIEW MORE

Gary Miller — National Archives
1 of 36

Chan has previously called pollution "one of the most pernicious threats" to health around the world — far greater than the threat of HIV/AIDS or Ebola, BBC reports.

In addition to the deaths, the WHO found that 11–14% of younger children worldwide report asthma symptoms and nearly half (an estimated 44%) of those cases result from the environmental factors.

All products and services featured are based solely on editorial selection. FORTUNE may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website.

Quotes delayed at least 15 minutes. Market data provided by Interactive Data. ETF and Mutual Fund data provided by Morningstar, Inc. Dow Jones Terms & Conditions: http://www.djindexes.com/mdsidx/html/tandc/indexestandcs.html. S&P Index data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Terms & Conditions. Powered and implemented by Interactive Data Managed Solutions