Camfil UK: 17/03/2016 - The World Health Organisation (WHO) have estimated that 12.6 million people died as a result of living or working in an unhealthy environment in 2012 – nearly 1 in 4 of total global deaths, according to new estimates. Air pollution amounts to as much as 8.2 million of these deaths.
The Report, “Preventing disease through healthy environments: a global assessment of the burden of disease from environmental risks”, reveals that deaths due to non-communicable diseases (NCDs), mostly attributable to air pollution (including exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke), amount to 8.2 million of these deaths. NCDs, such as stroke, heart disease, cancers and chronic respiratory disease, now amount to nearly two-thirds of the total deaths caused by unhealthy environments.
Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General said:
“A healthy environment underpins a healthy population,” says “If countries do not take actions to make environments where people live and work healthy, millions will continue to become ill and die too young.”
Dr Maria Neira, WHO Director, Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health said:
“There’s an urgent need for investment in strategies to reduce environmental risks in our cities, homes and workplaces”, said. “Such investments can significantly reduce the rising worldwide burden of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, injuries, and cancers, and lead to immediate savings in healthcare costs.”
Environmental risks take their greatest toll on young children and older people, the report finds, with children under 5 and adults aged 50 to 75 years most impacted. Yearly, the deaths of 1.7 million children under 5 and 4.9 million adults aged 50 to 75 could be prevented through better environmental management. Improving urban transit and urban planning, and building energy-efficient housing would reduce air pollution-related diseases and promote safe physical activity.
Currently, WHO is working with countries to take action on both indoor and outdoor air pollution. At the World Health Assembly in May, WHO will propose a road map for an enhanced global response by the health sector aimed at reducing the adverse health effects of air pollution.
The WHO Report comes just weeks after the landmark report from the Royal College of Physicians (RCP)
which starkly set out the dangerous impact air pollution is currently having on our nation’s health – with around 40,000 deaths a year linked to air pollution.
Air pollution taken into our bodies causing lifelong health impacts and shortens our lives. Air pollution hotspots can occur both outside and inside buildings and from different sources. What is not generally realised is that it is possible to control and remove health harming air pollutants from the indoor environment using the effective air filtration solutions now available. Using an office building or a home as a safe haven, is made possible by the new generation of standalone air purifiers designed to remove fine combustion particles sometimes labelled as PM1 and PM2.5 (Particulate Matter). It is much better to use particle filters that remove PM1 to a high level of efficiency. The new air filter test standard ISO16890 due to be ratified later this year is designed to offer a rated efficiency test that will more closely follow the real life working conditions for particle filters.
What can we do as individuals to protect our health and the environment in a sustainable way? Although it is difficult for us to limit our exposure to pollution outdoors we can do a lot to improve indoor air. Since we spend most of our time inside buildings, indoor air quality is crucial to our health. Pollution found inside a building is a cocktail of outdoor air pollutants and indoor pollutants such as, tobacco smoke, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and biological pollutants.
Modern buildings are relatively airtight and usually provided with mechanical ventilation to bring in external air and circulate air inside the building. Filtration can be applied in the fresh-air and recirculation air systems to provide effective control of particles and gaseous contaminants such as nitrogen dioxide. The ventilation system can be supplemented with stand-alone air purifier such as Camfil’s City M or City S.
Historically; research, government recommendations and consequently public awareness has been limited to airborne particles labelled PM10 and PM2.5 (smaller than 10 microns and smaller than 2.5 microns). However, the latest research now indicates that the focus should be put on even smaller particles, those that are 1 micron or smaller in diameter. This is because smaller particles pass the natural barriers in the human body such as nasal hairs and mucus films in the upper respiratory tract and penetrate deep into the fine structure of the lungs where they enter the bloodstream and get distributed around the entire human body.
Camfil welcome this report. It is essential to raise awareness of the health effects of air pollution and the need to use high efficiency air filters, to protect us from very fine particles.
Camfil provide highly efficient air filters or standalone air purifiers that ensure effective protection from PM1 particles.
Links and further resourcesEvery breath we take – the life cycle cost of air pollution
About Camfil Group
Camfil is the global industry leader in clean air solutions with more than 50 years of experience. Our solutions protect people, processes and the environment to benefit human health, increase performance, and reduce and manage energy consumption. Twenty-five manufacturing plants, six R&D sites and over 65 local sales offices worldwide provide service and support to our customers. The Camfil Group is headquartered in Sweden but more than 95% of sales are international. The Group has around 3,700 employees and sales in the range of SEK 5.5 billion.
Representatives from Camfil UK are available for media interviews and speaking opportunities. For more product information on Camfil or to arrange an interview contact: Kirstie Colledge Kirstie@simplymarcomms.co.uk