Claim: Air pollution kills 2 million worldwide

Surely someone should be able to show us a body.

The media release is below.

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Researchers estimate over 2 million deaths annually from air pollution

Over two million deaths occur each year as a direct result of human-caused outdoor air pollution, a new study has found.

In addition, while it has been suggested that a changing climate can exacerbate the effects of air pollution and increase death rates, the study shows that this has a minimal effect and only accounts for a small proportion of current deaths related to air pollution.

The study, which has been published today, 12 July, in IOP Publishing’s journal Environmental Research Letters, estimates that around 470,000 people die each year because of human-caused increases in ozone.

It also estimates that around 2.1 million deaths are caused each year by human-caused increases in fine particulate matter (PM2.5) – tiny particles suspended in the air that can penetrate deep into the lungs, causing cancer and other respiratory disease.

Co-author of the study, Jason West, from the University of North Carolina, said: “Our estimates make outdoor air pollution among the most important environmental risk factors for health. Many of these deaths are estimated to occur in East Asia and South Asia, where population is high and air pollution is severe.”

According to the study, the number of these deaths that can be attributed to changes in the climate since the industrial era is, however, relatively small. It estimates that a changing climate results in 1500 deaths due to ozone and 2200 deaths related to PM2.5 each year.

Climate change affects air pollution in many ways, possibly leading to local increases or decreases in air pollution. For instance, temperature and humidity can change the reaction rates which determine the formation or lifetime of a pollutant, and rainfall can determine the time that pollutants can accumulate.

Higher temperatures can also increase the emissions of organic compounds from trees, which can then react in the atmosphere to form ozone and particulate matter.

“Very few studies have attempted to estimate the effects of past climate change on air quality and health. We found that the effects of past climate change are likely to be a very small component of the overall effect of air pollution,” continued West.

In their study, the researchers used an ensemble of climate models to simulate the concentrations of ozone and PM2.5 in the years 2000 and 1850. A total of 14 models simulated levels of ozone and six models simulated levels of PM2.5.

Previous epidemiological studies were then used to assess how the specific concentrations of air pollution from the climate models related to current global mortality rates.

The researchers’ results were comparable to previous studies that have analysed air pollution and mortality; however, there was some variation depending on which climate model was used.

“We have also found that there is significant uncertainty based on the spread among different atmospheric models. This would caution against using a single model in the future, as some studies have done,” continued West.

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6 thoughts on “Claim: Air pollution kills 2 million worldwide”

  1. yep, the first tip off is “estimated”. Right then and there you know it’s something they pulled out of their tailpipes.

  2. 1st rule of statistics – correlation is NOT causation. duh.

    a true epidemiological study would dig up bodies all over the planet and do post mortems on their lungs and hearts. But then it’s much easier to build a computer program to say what you want (and you can control all the inputs and outputs…. Hmmm, just like CAGW).

  3. To be technically correct, over two million SIMULATED deaths occur each year as a direct result of human-caused SIMULATED outdoor air pollution, a new study has found.
    If one wishes to be *completely* honest, this is a SIMULATED study.

  4. projections of crap associations, particularly the imaginary desk top deaths from air pollution are just bigger crap.

    no one seems to understand–the small associations are not proof of deaths or disease, which would require serious medical investigation.

    all the EPA and its associated paid whores do is dredge for small increases i death rates to associate with small increases in air pollution.

    the small increases are nothing more than the noise of day to day variations, but a small association allows for a BIG PROJECTION–SO LETS TALK MILLIONS, WHEN NO ONE IS LYING IN THE STREET.

    It makes me feel so much better than i should, to know that EPA sponsored research is so worthless and violates so many rules.

    Small associations violate the basic 1st rule of Bradford Hill on tox–magnitude of effect.

    an effect in the range of normal daily variability is called NOISE, and it is not SIGNAL.

    the rule in epi is that the association must be 100 percent for more to even get to play as evidence of a toxic effect in an observational population study–because there are too many confounders to assume you can do a small association analysis and treat it like you were doing a randomized CONTROLLED trial.

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