WHO describes air pollution as single largest environmental health risk

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), some 7 million people died in 2012 due to air pollution.  The majority of these deaths, from heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and lung cancer, resulted from indoor smoke from cook stoves.  Air pollution is now the “single largest environmental health risk,” the U.N. health agency stated in the report.

Geographically, the Western Pacific and Southeast Asia regions were estimated to be the hardest-hit, accounting for about 5 million deaths as a result of polluted air in 2012.cookstove pollution

Women were disproportionately affected.  “Poor women and children pay a hefty price from indoor air pollution since they spend more time at home breathing in smoke and soot from leaky coal and wood cook stoves,” said Dr. Flavia Bustreo, WHO assistant director of General Family, Women and Child’s Health in the report.

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