80% city dwellers breathe polluted air: WHO

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Over 80 percent of world’s city dwellers breathe polluted air, increasing their risk of lung cancer and other life-threatening diseases, a World Health Organisation reports said on Friday.

The report also states that among the other health complications caused due to the poor air includes diabetes and cardio-vascular diseases.

According to the findings, 98 percent of the low-income countries are among poor air quality countries. The report was a outcome of the data collected from 795 cities in 67 countries between 2008 and 2013.

Various surveys have revealed that every year over 3 million premature deaths take place due to various health problems caused by air pollution.

About the WHO report, S.P. Byotra, who heads the medicine department at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital here, said: “Giving the level of pollution people are exposed in metros, breathing in a healthy air, at least when they are in their homes, may help reduce the chances of getting into these air pollution related health issues.”

According to the experts, high levels of air pollution is not just leading to an increase in the respiratory diseases, like poor lung function, asthma and allergies, but also other health problems like obesity, lung cancer, poor foetal development and increased cases of miscarriage.

Byotra also said that installation of air purifiers can be an easy way to prevent respiratory problems caused by indoor air pollution.

Doctors said that air purifiers are becoming more reliable for people in cities because pollutants released indoors were 1,000 times more likely to reach the lungs than pollutants released outdoors.

Vijay Kannan, India head of purifier manufacturer Blueair, said: “Apart from people with poor respiratory health, children and elderly, people with other common diseases are also opting for air purifiers.. even pregnant women are getting air purifiers installed in their homes because of the latest findings on various health hazards of air pollution and rising awareness.” IANS

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