Global Health Impact of Air, Land and Water Pollution

Overview of main health effects on humans from...
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Ecology of Increasing Diseases: Population Growth and Environmental Degradation (Human Ecology, Volume 35, Number 6, 653-668, Dec. 2007)

Also discussed here: Pollution causes 40 percent of deaths worldwide, study finds (Eurekalert, Aug. 13, 2007)

And here: Environmental pollution and degradation causes 40 percent of deaths worldwide, Cornell study finds (Cornell News, Sep. 30, 1998)

Key Quotes:

“An estimated 40 percent of world deaths can now be attributed to various environmental factors, especially organic and chemical pollutants”

  • “Each year, air pollutants adversely affect the health of 4 to 5 billion people worldwide. An expanding world population is burning more fossil fuels, emitting more industrial chemicals and driving more automobiles. The number of automobiles is increasing three times faster than the rate of population growth.”
  • “Of the 80,000 pesticides and other chemicals in use today, 10 percent are recognized as carcinogens. Cancer-related deaths in the United States increased from 331,000 in 1970 to 521,000 in 1992, with as estimated 30,000 deaths attributed to chemical exposure.”
  • “Less than 1 percent of 500 Chinese cities have clean air. Respiratory disease is the leading cause of death in China.”
  • “Although the use of lead in U.S. gasoline declined since 1985, other sources inject about  2 billion kilograms of lead into the atmosphere in this country each year. An estimated 1.7 million children in the United States have unacceptably high levels of lead in their blood.”
  • “The global use of agricultural pesticides rose from about 50 million kilograms a year in 1945 to current application rates of approximately 2.5 billion kilograms per year. Most modern pesticides are more than 10 times as toxic to living organisms than those used in the 1950s”

“A growing number of people lack basic needs, like pure water and ample food. They become more susceptible to diseases driven by malnourishment, and air, water and soil pollutants,”

“Relying on increasing diseases and malnutrition to limit human numbers in the world diminishes the quality of life for all humans and is a high-risk policy”

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