How Pollution Can Lead to Disabilities and Death

CW: Death

According to a new study, deaths, and disabilities from cardiovascular disease due to tiny particles of air pollution increased by almost a third worldwide between 1990 and 2019.

Men were more affected than women, and impoverished areas were more affected than affluent ones. According to the study, published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Heart Association, people are living longer with disability, despite the fact that deaths from such pollution actually decreased after accounting for age.

Previous research has linked particulate matter pollution to cardiovascular death and disability. Vehicle emissions, wildfire smoke, dust, pollen, and soot all contribute to pollution in the outdoors. Indoors, it can be caused by heating or cooking with coal or wood, especially if there is inadequate ventilation.

Particulate matter can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat. Particles can easily enter the lungs and bloodstream after being inhaled. Past research has linked fine particulate matter pollution to heart disease, stroke, and other medical issues.

In 2019, there were 3.5 million deaths from cardiovascular diseases caused by particulate matter, with males accounting for 56.5% of the total. Environmental pollution is one of the most significant reversible causes of premature death and disability worldwide.Among environmental risk factors, air pollution, particularly particulate matter (PM) pollution, is a major contributor to the global burden of disease (GBD) associated with increased morbidity and mortality.

The study found that disability-adjusted life years increased by 31% globally over the study period. The total annual number of deaths from cardiovascular disease caused by particle matter air pollution increased to 3.5 million in 2019 from 2.6 million in 1990.

Overall, male mortality climbed by 43%, while female deaths increased by 28%.

Regions with poor socioeconomic conditions saw more fatalities and had fewer years lived with disability than stronger socioeconomic regions.

Air pollution prevention and control strategies have resulted in lower particle exposure in many countries. Countries with a lower sociodemographic show a need for urgent planning and implementation of preventive and control strategies to increase access and quality of the health care system and improve air pollution control, with a primary focus on particulate matter control.

Reducing air pollution is vital in reducing the number of disabilities and cardiovascular diseases caused by particle accumulation. We can all work together to make the world more sustainable.


Moradi, Mahsa, et al. ‘Particulate Matter Pollution Remains a Threat for Cardiovascular Health: Findings From the Global Burden of Disease 2019’. Journal of the American Heart Association, vol. 0, no. 0, American Heart Association, p. e029375, https://doi.org10.1161/JAHA.123.029375.

Rajagopalan Sanjay, et al. ‘Air Pollution and Cardiovascular Disease’. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, vol. 72, no. 17, American College of Cardiology Foundation, Oct. 2018, pp. 2054–2070, https://doi.org10.1016/j.jacc.2018.07.099.

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