WHO reports on health and air toxicity
A recent report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) has estimated that in 2016, 600,000 children died from acute lower respiratory infections caused by polluted air. Every day around 93 per cent of the world’s children under the age of 15 years (1.8 billion children) breathe air that is so polluted it puts their health and development at serious risk.
The report reveals that when pregnant women are exposed to polluted air, they are more likely to give birth prematurely, and have small, low birth-weight children. Air pollution also impacts neurodevelopment and cognitive ability and can trigger asthma, and childhood cancer. Children who have been exposed to high levels of air pollution may be at greater risk for chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease later in life.
WHO’s First Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health, which opened in Geneva on 30 October provided the opportunity for world leaders; ministers of health, energy, and environment; mayors; heads of intergovernmental organizations; scientists and others to commit to act against this serious health threat that shortens the lives of around 7 million people each year.