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11 January 2023

European health burden attributable to air pollution fell over three decades from 1990 to 2019

Air pollution is one of the greatest environmental health risks worldwide according to the World Health Organisation.

Recent research looks at pollution levels and associated health impacts across Europe from 1990 to 2019. The researchers report that deaths attributable to air pollution dropped over the period in both absolute and relative terms and argue that further progress should be a priority.

Air pollution is considered the fourth biggest global health risk factor, contributing significantly to the two leading causes of death worldwide (ischemic heart disease and stroke). Although air pollution levels have fallen across Europe in recent decades, more than 0.5 million deaths were attributed to this cause across the region in 20131. This study explored the changing impact of air quality on human health in 43 European countries between 1990 and 2019.

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