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Model calculated global, regional and megacity premature mortality due to air pollution

by J. Lelieveld, C. Barlas, D. Giannadaki, A. Pozzer
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics ()
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Air pollution by fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and ozone (O-3) has increased strongly with industrialization and urbanization. We estimate the premature mortality rates and the years of human life lost (YLL) caused by anthropogenic PM2.5 and O-3 in 2005 for epidemiological regions defined by the World Health Organization (WHO). This is based upon high-resolution global model calculations that resolve urban and industrial regions in greater detail compared to previous work. Results indicate that 69% of the global population is exposed to an annual mean anthropogenic PM2.5 concentration of >10 mu g m(-3) (WHO guideline) and 33% to >25 mu g m(-3) (EU directive). We applied an epidemiological health impact function and find that especially in large countries with extensive suburban and rural populations, air pollution-induced mortality rates have been underestimated given that previous studies largely focused on the urban environment. We calculate a global respiratory mortality of about 773 thousand/year (YLL approximate to 5.2 million/year), 186 thousand/year by lung cancer (YLL approximate to 1.7 million/year) and 2.0 million/year by cardiovascular disease (YLL approximate to 14.3 million/year). The global mean per capita mortality caused by air pollution is about 0.1% yr(-1). The highest premature mortality rates are found in the Southeast Asia and Western Pacific regions (about 25% and 46% of the global rate, respectively) where more than a dozen of the most highly polluted megacities are located.

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