The Île-de-France Regional Health Observatory (ORS) and Airparif have just published a new study which quantifies the impact of air pollution on mortality in the Île-de-France region.While the authors of this study are pleased with the improvement in air quality since 2010, they regret that air pollution is still responsible for one in 10 deaths in Ile-de-France (2019 figures ).
“If new measures are taken to lower the current levels of air pollution below the values recommended by the WHO (World Health Organization), around 7,900 premature deaths could be avoided each year on average” underline the authors.
Main culprits: fine particles, nitrogen dioxide and ozone
Exposure to air pollution favors the development of serious chronic pathologies, in particular cardiovascular and respiratory pathologies and cancers. This results in increased mortality, reduced life expectancy and increased use of care. The study reveals the impact on mortality:
- The annual number of deaths attributable to prolonged exposure to PM2.5 fine particles is 6,220 in 2019 (compared to 10,350 in 2010). They are mainly emitted by district heating (particularly wood heating) and road traffic.
- The annual number of deaths related to prolonged exposure to nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is 3,680 in 2019 (compared to 4,520 in 2010). It is mainly emitted by road traffic (especially old diesel vehicles) and urban heating.
- For the first time, the annual number of deaths attributable to ozone (O3) has been assessed: it is around 1700. Ozone is not emitted directly, but is formed in the atmosphere by reactions between nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOC), under the action of sunlight and in the presence of high temperatures.
“If the average levels of these pollutants were lowered to the levels recommended by the WHO to protect the health of populations, these deaths could be avoided” insist the authors of the study.
Source : Mortality attributable to air pollutionIle-de-France Regional Health Observatory, February 2022
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