Home News Air pollution killed at least 238,000 Europeans in 2020, spike due to Covid

Air pollution killed at least 238,000 Europeans in 2020, spike due to Covid

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Fine particle pollution caused 238,000 premature deaths in the European Union in 2020, according to a report by the European Environment Agency (EEA) published on Thursday, a figure just over a year old due to Covid.

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Exposure to particulate matter concentrations higher than WHO recommendations led to 238,000 premature deaths. across the European Union, the European Environment Agency said in a new report.

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This is a slight increase from 2019, when fine particles, which penetrate deep into the lungs, caused premature death in about 231,000 people.

“important” number

This increase contrasts with a steady decline over the past 20 years, with an overall decline of 45% between 2005 and 2020, even if the number remains flat. ” Important “ Study confirms.

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This increase is explained in particular by the fact that Covid-19 hit people with comorbidities linked to air pollution (cancer, lung disease or type 2 diabetes) more severely.

On the other hand, “Comparing 2020 to 2019, the number of premature deaths attributable to air pollution increased for (fine particulate matter) PM2.5 but decreased for (nitrogen dioxide) NO 2 and (ozone) O3.”details the AEE in its study.

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For ozone (O3) particles, mainly from road traffic and industrial activities, the trend in 2020 was downward with more than 24,000 deaths, a decline of 3% over one year.

49,000 premature deaths from nitrogen dioxide

For nitrogen dioxide (NO 2), a gas mainly produced by vehicles and thermal power plants, more than 49,000 premature deaths were recorded, a 22% decrease due in part to reduced road traffic during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The agency, which is based in Copenhagen, does not add up its budgets because it would double count. According to its annual report, it estimates that the European Union is on track to achieve its goal of reducing premature deaths by more than 50% in 2030 compared to 2005.

In the early 1990s, fine particulate matter caused nearly a million premature deaths in the 27 countries of the European Union. In 2005, 431 thousand people died from it. Air pollution remains the biggest environmental threat to the health of Europeans.

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