Air pollution blamed for 45,000 premature deaths in 2018

Air pollution blamed for 45,000 premature deaths in 2018

Air pollution blamed for 45,000 premature deaths in 2018

Air pollution caused a total of 44,617 premature deaths in 2018 in Turkey, recent research has shown.

Most fatalities due to prolonged exposure to the airborne PM2.5, known as particulate matter, occurred in the provinces of Iğdır, Kahramanmaraş, Mersin, Manisa, Niğde and Burdur, said Professor Kayıhan Pala from the Uludağ University’s Medical School who led the study.

The eastern province of Iğdır and the southern province of Kahramanmaraş had the worst PM2.5 air pollution in 2018, found the study, whose results have been released for the first time.

“The analysis of the data collected from 338 stations in 72 provinces revealed that the premature death rates due to air pollution were 214 in per 100,000 people in Iğdır and 202 per 100,000 people in Kahramanmaraş,” Pala said.

The research was conducted by Pala, pulmonologist Nilüfer Aykaç and public health specialist Yeşim Yasin by using the AirQ+ software developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) to analyze the collected data.

“We identified a total of 44,617 premature deaths across the country due to air pollution,” Pala said.

Air pollution causes cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, according to Pala. “It also triggers lung cancer and bladder cancer.”

A 10 microgram increase in the PM2.5 level leads to a 25 percent rise in cancer and cardiovascular illnesses, he said.

PM is a common proxy indicator for air pollution. It affects more people than any other pollutant, according to the WHO.

While particles with a diameter of 10 microns or less (≤ PM10) can penetrate and lodge deep inside the lungs, the even more health-damaging particles are those with a diameter of 2.5 microns or less (≤ PM2.5) that can penetrate the lung barrier and enter the blood system, according to WHO.