The World Health Organization (WHO) just released its 2012 estimates of the global burden of disease from air pollution and reports that globally, 4.3 million deaths were attributable to household air pollution (HAP) in 2012, almost all in low and middle income (LMI) countries.  The WHO reports that the South East Asian and Western Pacific regions bear most of the burden with 1.69 and 1.62 million deaths, respectively.  Almost 600,000 deaths occur in Africa, 200,000 in the Eastern Mediterranean region, 99,000 in Europe and 81,000 in the Americas. The remaining 19,000 deaths occur in high income countries.

The findings also estimate that the joint effects of HAP and ambient air pollution were attributable to over 7 million deaths in 2012, representing one in eight of total global deaths and confirming that air pollution is now the world’s largest single environmental health risk.

The new estimates make it clear that reducing air pollution could save millions of lives and further underscore the need for clean cooking technologies for the close to 3 billion people who continue to live in homes using solid fuels for cooking and heating. 

The revised estimates also represent a significant increase from the first global burden of disease estimates in the early 2000s which suggested that around 2 million premature deaths occur each year as a result of exposure to indoor air pollution (IAP) and build from prior estimates published in 2012 attributing close to 4 million deaths to HAP (including 0.5 million deaths resulting from exposure to outdoor air pollution caused by solid fuel use).   

Click here to view the official WHO press release, and download an Alliance briefing note on the changes in the estimates over time here.

Or watch the Alliance webinar held on March 26th, 2014 addressing:

How and Why Are The Global Burden of Disease HAP estimates changing?

Leading the webinar:

•    Sumi Mehta, the Alliance's Director of Programs, will provide a brief overview of how revised methodologies and additional evidence on air pollution exposures and the associated health risks have contributed to changes in the estimates over time.

•    Heather Adair-Rohani, Technical Officer on Air Quality at the WHO will provide a detailed description of WHO's new results.
Click here to view the official WHO press release, and download an Alliance briefing note on the changes in the estimates over time here.