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Thu Dec 22, 2016, 05:55 AM

WHO has caught up with the scientific literature on air pollution deaths.

For many years, until I came across the paper reporting on the comprehensive study of the causes of human mortality funded by the Gates Foundation, this one (Lancet 2012, 380, 2224–60), I used the figure of 3.3 million deaths per year from air pollution, a figure that was conveniently available on a web page of the World Health Organization.

This was, of course, an impressive figure, but it is too low by a factor of 2. The actual figure as reported in the Lancet paper is 7 million people year. This means that every decade, air pollution kills more people than died in all of World War II from combat, aerial bombings, genocide, etc.

I use these figures to support my contention that opposition to nuclear power is at best stupid, at worst criminal, since in its entire history, commercial nuclear power operations have not lead to more deaths than will take place in the next 48 hours from air pollution.

Recently, in one of my periodic posts on the subject of how everything humanity has done to fight climate change - which consists mainly of investing huge sums of money in so called "renewable energy" - has failed miserably, an anti-nuke showed up in the most to complain that the new figure that I've been using, roughly seven million deaths per year was wrong, and, in the spectacular logic of anti-nukes, therefore everything I say about nuclear power was wrong. I dismissed this silliness by reference to the Lancet paper, although I doubt that there are any anti-nukes anywhere who are bright enough to get it.

This exchange is here: At 3.37 ppm over November of 2015, November 2016 is the worst November for new carbon dioxide...

Apparently the anti-nuke googled his way to the old WHO website - which is by the way unreferenced sort of like an Amory Lovins "paper" - to find the 3.3 million figure.

I was stumbling around the internet today, doing a little lazy Googling myself, to discover that WHO has updated their web page.

It appears that WHO has caught up with the scientific literature on the subject:

7 million premature deaths annually linked to air pollution

The opening text from the (still unreferenced) web page:

25 MARCH 2014 | GENEVA - In new estimates released today, WHO reports that in 2012 around 7 million people died - one in eight of total global deaths – as a result of air pollution exposure. This finding more than doubles previous estimates and confirms that air pollution is now the world’s largest single environmental health risk. Reducing air pollution could save millions of lives.

New estimates

In particular, the new data reveal a stronger link between both indoor and outdoor air pollution exposure and cardiovascular diseases, such as strokes and ischaemic heart disease, as well as between air pollution and cancer. This is in addition to air pollution’s role in the development of respiratory diseases, including acute respiratory infections and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases.

The new estimates are not only based on more knowledge about the diseases caused by air pollution, but also upon better assessment of human exposure to air pollutants through the use of improved measurements and technology. This has enabled scientists to make a more detailed analysis of health risks from a wider demographic spread that now includes rural as well as urban areas.

The bold is mine.

I hope you're enjoying the holiday season.

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