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Air Pollution Is Worse Than Smoking

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

air pollution compared to smoking

Story at-a-glance -

  • Research data demonstrate the number of people dying early from air pollution is 1 million more each year than death caused by smoking; nitrogen-based fertilizer, fossil fuels and industrial chemical production are the three largest contributors
  • Rising rates of pollution trigger lower life expectancy, lower intelligence, low birth weight, premature birth and health conditions such as autism, attention deficit disorder, cardiovascular disease, obesity and cancer
  • Children bear a greater burden as they are exposed before birth, their respiratory rate is faster, inhaling more air pollution into smaller, developing bodies, and they are expected to live longer, giving more time for diseases to emerge
  • Although you may not control pollution levels outside your home, you can make changes to your diet to mitigate damage, and decrease indoor air pollution originating from cleaners, carpeting, personal care products and furniture

Nearly 95 percent of the world live in areas where pollution levels are higher than deemed safe by the World Health Organization (WHO). Fine particulate matter measuring less than 2.5 micrograms (PM2.5) is one indicator of outdoor air pollution.

Concentrations exceed 10 micrograms per meters cubed (ug/m3) for 95 percent of the world and nearly 60 percent live in areas where particulate matter exceeds even the least stringent WHO quality target of 35 ug/m3. Air pollution is a complex mixture a fine particulate matter, droplets and gases.

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