Report: Pollution Epidemic Is World’s Deadliest Killer

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What kills 15 times more people than all the world’s violence, three times more deaths than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined, 9 million people a year, and costs $4.6 trillion a year?

Pollution.

The pollution in China is so high that the United States Embassy monitors and publishes air quality levels. China has the second-most pollution deaths worldwide. 

In a report from the The Lancet, pollution hits the poor/middle income countries most with 92 percent of pollution-related deaths. India tops the list with more than 2.5 million deaths a year, one-quarter of all the deaths there (2015).

Airborne pollutants from Chinese factories have been detected in Los Angeles, and vaporized mercury from gold mining in Africa has been detected in our tuna. Pollution doesn’t usually kill you; it makes you sick. Diseases like diabetes, dementia in adults and autism in children are associated with forms of pollution. They found 14 million years of productive worker life has been lost to pollution-related disabilities. 

The study says that for every $1 spent since the 1970 Clean Air Act, it’s yielded a return of about $30 to the U.S. economy, and with that $65 billion investment in pollution control we’ve accumulated well over a trillion dollars in benefits. When rural Chinese upgraded its stoves, lung cancer was cut by over 30 percent.

No matter what, it will benefit us to embrace clean technologies. Meanwhile, Environmental Protection Agency Director Scott Pruitt cut 50 U.S. environmental safeguards, and President Trump also put America at odds with the rest of the world regarding the goal of fighting climate change. The U.S. is the only country in the world that didn’t sign the Paris climate agreement.

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