By Sy Mukherjee and Clifton Leaf
October 20, 2017

Greetings and happy Friday, readers. This is Sy.

A formidable portion of the world’s public health woes is tied to pollution, according to new research published in the journal Lancet. In fact, there were nine million premature pollution-related deaths in 2015 alone, with air pollution being the biggest single driver of early deaths.

“[Air pollution contributed to] 6.5 million deaths in 2015, while water pollution (1.8 million deaths) and workplace-related pollution (0.8 million deaths) pose the next largest risks,” wrote the study authors in a press release. The research was conducted by dozens of international health and environmental experts and incorporates data from the ambitious Global Burden of Disease project, which highlighted how smoking, blood pressure, poor diet, and environmental factors affect human health earlier this year.

Pollution is particularly rampant—and deadly—in lower- to middle-income nations. But it also takes a toll in higher-income countries like the United States and may be holding back American life expectancy. Dirty air, water, and working conditions are associated with some of the most prominent causes of death in the world, including heart disease, cancer, and lung disease.

“As the report shows, no country is unaffected by pollution. Human activities, including industrialization, urbanization, and globalization, are all drivers of pollution… We hope that the findings and recommendations from this Lancet Commission will also marshal action in the health and development sectors, and persuade leaders at the national, state, provincial, and city levels to make pollution a priority,” said Lancet senior executive editor Dr. Pamela Das and editor in chief Dr. Richard Horton in a statement accompanying the study.

Read on for the day’s news, and enjoy your weekend.

Sy Mukherjee


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