Nitrogen Dioxide Is Raising Death Rates Privacy & Trust Info

Even small increases of dioxide (NO2) pollution may cause an uptick in heart- and lung-related deaths, underscoring the necessity to tighten limits on this sort of pollution , Chinese researchers say.

NO2 is produced by burning fuel for vehicles, power and industrial production. World Health Organization (WHO) air quality guidelines recommend NO2 levels not exceed an annual average of 40 micrograms (one-millionth of a gram) per kiloliter of air (µg/m3).

Many previous studies have reported the harmful health effects of short-term exposure to NO2, but most are small, covered limited areas, or used different study designs, so results are inconsistent.

In this study, researchers at Fudan University in Shanghai analyzed daily concentrations of NO2 from 398 cities in 22 low- to high-income countries/regions between 1973 and 2018, along side daily weather data and death records.

The period recorded 62.8 million deaths, including 19.7 million (31.5%) from heart condition and 5.5 million (8.7%) from respiratory issues.

On average, a ten µg/m3 increase in dioxide levels on the previous day was related to 0.46% increase in total deaths; a 0.37% increase in heart deaths; and 0.47% increase in respiratory deaths.

These associations remained after researchers adjusted for levels of other common air pollutants — sulphur dioxide , carbon monoxide gas , ozone and different sizes of fine particulate .

In all, 1.23% of deaths across the cities within the study were due to dioxide , consistent with findings published March 24 within the BMJ.

While reducing NO2 to zero isn’t feasible, the study “provides insight into the general public health benefits of considerable NO2 reductions,” wrote the authors led by Haidong Kan of Shanghai Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Particle Pollution and Prevention at Fudan University.

Because this was an observational study, it doesn’t prove cause and effect. But, the authors wrote, it offers “robust evidence” of links between short-term exposure to NO2 and increased risks of heart and respiratory death, suggesting the necessity to revise and tighten current air-quality guidelines.

“These findings contribute to a far better understanding of the way to optimize public health actions and methods to mitigate pollution ,” Kan and his colleagues said during a journal news release.

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