US: Microscopic air pollution caused mostly by burning fossil fuels shortens lives worldwide by more than two years, researchers reported Tuesday.
Across South Asia, the average person would live five years longer if levels of fine particulate matter met World Health Organization (WHO) standards, according to a report from the University of Chicago’s Energy Policy Institute.
PM2.5 pollution — 2.5 microns across or less, roughly the diameter of a human hair — penetrates deep into the lungs and enters the bloodstream.
In 2013, the United Nations (UN) classified it as a cancer-causing agent. The WHO says PM2.5 density in the air should not top 15 microgrammes per cubic metre in any 24-hour period, or 5 mcg/m3 averaged across an entire year.
Faced with mounting evidence of damaging health impacts, the WHO tightened these standards last year, the first change since establishing air quality guidance in 2005. Central and West Africa, along with much of Southeast Asia and parts of central America, also face pollution levels — and shortened lives — well above the global average. – THE BANGKOK POST