More than war and violence – more than smoking, hunger, or natural disasters – more than AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined.  More people are prematurely killed worldwide each year from polluted air and water, at least 9 million, than the total number of people who die every year from these other major killers.  This data comes from an extensive study by the Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health that was released on 19 October 2017.  The study found that one in six premature deaths, or 17 percent of the world population, are attributable to toxic exposure to environmental pollutants, and that the financial cost is about US$4.6 trillion, or about 6.2 percent of the global economy.

Lead author of the report, and Dean of global health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, Philip Landrigan, said “Pollution is a massive problem that people aren’t seeing because they’re looking at scattered bits of it”.  The figure of 9 million pollution-related deaths is considered a low estimate by Commission researchers, who are projecting that the impacts will be better quantified with new assessment methods and new research.

As one might expect, “The vast majority of pollution-related deaths — 92 percent — occur in low- or middle-income countries, where policy makers are chiefly concerned with developing their economies”, according to the report.  The continents of Asia and Africa have the worst incidence of toxin-induced premature deaths, and India tops the list with one out of every four premature deaths, or some 2.5 million, caused by pollution.  And in the wealthier countries that have curbed much of the early occurrences of industrial pollution, it’s the lower class poor communities that still suffer from negligent corporate emissions and lax enforcement – the so-called environmental justice communities.  As the article states, “According to the NAACP’s research, the percentage of African Americans in the fenceline zones near chemical plants is 75 percent greater than for the country overall; for Latinos, 60 percent”.  Learn more at – Pollution Kills an Estimated 9 Million People Every Year.