CO2 major cause of declining life expectancy: study

May 4, 2022 - 14:49

TEHRAN - Iranian researchers have conducted a study on the effects of carbon dioxide greenhouse gases which can cause a significant decrease in life expectancy in the country, ISNA reported.

Air pollution is one of the life-threatening environmental factors. The effects of air pollution on human health have long been considered, since the early 1990s, air pollution in cities, especially in the metropolises of developing countries, has been recognized as one of the most important environmental concerns in the world.

According to experts, airborne particles can cause short-term and long-term effects on the health of residents of polluted areas. Air pollution has diverse impacts on different people, which appears more on vulnerable groups such as children and the elderly. 

Three million people die of air pollution each year, and in some countries, the number of people who die from the same factor is higher than the number of victims of traffic accidents. Air pollution is one of the most important preconditions for sustainable development due to its implications for the living conditions of future generations, which may be affected by many potential factors.

WHO data shows that almost all of the global population (99%) breathe air containing high levels of pollutants. Air pollution is responsible for around 40,000 premature deaths in Iran annually. 

This issue has been the basis of a scientific study by a group of researchers from the Valiasr University of Rafsanjan. In this study, the effect of emissions and in particular carbon dioxide gas on the life expectancy of Iranian men and women has been investigated.

The results of this study show that CO2 emissions have a negative effect on the overall life expectancy of men and women. Therefore, in order to increase life expectancy in Iran, the emissions, especially CO2, must be controlled.

On the other hand, according to the findings of this study, the effect of mortality on overall life expectancy has been negative. The effect of birth rate on overall life expectancy and women's life expectancy has also been evaluated positively, while this effect has been negative on men's life expectancy.

The results of this study can be a way for decision-makers and policymakers in the country to control environmental pollutants in order to increase life expectancy, Moslem Ansari Nasab, the study researcher said.

Also, our future suggestion is to study the impact of other pollutants that cause cardiovascular diseases, lungs, cancers, etc. in the country, and thus, are key to reducing life expectancy, he stated.

These scientific research findings have been published in the Iranian Journal of Health and Environment (IJHE), a quarterly scientific research publication of the Iranian Association of Environmental Health (IAEH).

Air pollution kills 7m people worldwide

Air pollution is the contamination of the indoor or outdoor environment by any chemical, physical or biological agent that modifies the natural characteristics of the atmosphere. Household combustion devices, motor vehicles, industrial facilities, and forest fires are common sources of air pollution. Pollutants of major public health concern include particulate matter, carbon monoxide, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide.

Outdoor and indoor air pollution cause respiratory and other diseases and is an important source of morbidity and mortality.

Air pollution kills an estimated seven million people worldwide every year. WHO data shows that almost all of the global population (99%) breathe air that exceeds WHO guideline limits containing high levels of pollutants, with low- and middle-income countries suffering from the highest exposures.

Air pollution is responsible for around 40,000 premature deaths in Iran annually, Mohammad-Sadeq Hassanvand, head of the air pollution research center at Tehran University of Medical Sciences, said in July 2020.

From smog hanging over cities to smoke inside the home, air pollution poses a major threat to health and climate. The combined effects of ambient (outdoor) and household air pollution cause millions of premature deaths every year, largely as a result of increased mortality from stroke, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, and acute respiratory infections.

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