The effect of long-term exposure to air pollution is associated with increased mortality even when the pollution is below European Union limits, shows new research.
The research was conducted by the Utrecht University. The researchers, led by Utrecht professor Rob Beelen, used data from the European Study of Cohorts for Air Pollution Effects (ESCAPE), which included data from 13 European countries and a total of 367,251 people, Xinhua reported Monday.
With each increase of 5 mg per cubic metre of particulate matter, the risk that someone dies increases by seven percent, the study showed.
“This is the difference between a busy street in the city, and a place without the influence of traffic,” Rob Beelen said.
The air quality norm in Europe is 25 mg per cubic metre, but the research showed the risks are still significant under 15 mg.
“Our findings show that there are significant health benefits to be gained when the concentrations of particulate matter will be further reduced,” Beelen added.
Particulate matter is the collective name for airborne particles that are so small that they penetrate deep into the lungs. The traffic is a major source, but factory plants and heating plants contribute to affect human health.