Air pollution can be dangerous for the elderly
Pollution from a coal-fired power plant (Photo: Pixabay)

AIR pollution – contamination of the indoor or outdoor environment by any chemical, physical or biological agent that modifies the natural characteristics of the atmosphere – can be dangerous for the elderly.

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 causes respiratory and other diseases and is an important source of morbidity and mortality.

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

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.

Source: WHO

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