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Air pollution around the world takes a staggering toll

“’Studies of long-term exposure to air pollution demonstrate that people living in more polluted locations die prematurely, compared with those living in areas with lower levels of pollution,’ the report explained. The other side of the coin is that ‘when air quality improves, so does population health.’ . . .

“The researchers concluded that exposure to particulate pollution was the fifth deadliest health risk of all 79 they studied, ranking behind high blood pressure, smoking and high blood sugar, and about matching high cholesterol — conditions many people upend their lives in order to mitigate. Air pollution exposure was deadlier than having high body mass index or alcohol use. . . .

“Fully 92 percent of the world’s population lives in areas where fine-particulate levels exceed World Health Organization guidelines. The misery is concentrated: Half of air pollution’s death toll was in China and India alone.”

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