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A study by The Lancet reports that the consequences of pollution cause one in six deaths worldwide – more than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined.
Environmental pollution, from air pollution to polluted water, is killing more people each year than all wars and violence in the world. Pollution is also more lethal than smoking, hunger or natural disasters; and more than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined.
One out of every six premature deaths in the world in 2015 – about nine million – could be attributed to the disease by toxic exposure, according to a study published Thursday in the medical journal “The Lancet.”
The financial cost of death and disease related to pollution is equally massive, says the report: it costs about $ 4.6 billion in annual losses, or about 6.2 percent of the world economy.
“There have been many studies on pollution, but they have never received the resources or the level of attention such as AIDS or climate change,” said epidemiologist Philip Landrigan, dean of global health at the Icahn School of Medicine in Mount Sinai, New York, and the lead author of the report.
The document marks the first attempt to collect data on diseases and deaths caused by all forms of pollution combined.
“Pollution is a massive problem that people are not seeing because they are looking at scattered parts of it,” Landrigan said.
Experts say the 9 million premature deaths that the study found were only a partial estimate, and that the number of people killed by the contamination is undoubtedly higher and will be quantified once more research is done and new methods are developed for assess the harmful impacts.