The World Health Organization is out with some new numbers on air pollution, and the numbers are hard to fathom:
More on the risks
- In 2016, 600,000 children were estimated to have died from acute lower respiratory infections caused by polluted air, reports CNN.
- About 1.8 billion children worldwide—that would be 93%—breathe air so toxic that it puts their health, their physical development, and their intelligence at risk, reports the Guardian.
- In poorer nations, a staggering 98% of children under the age of 5 are exposed to PM2.5, one of the most harmful pollutants, in levels that exceed the WHO's safety guidelines.
- The pollution isn't always of the outdoor variety: The burning of wood or paraffin for heating, cooking, and light also takes a toll, especially in poorer nations.
- Pregnant women who breathe such dirty air are more prone to deliver premature and underweight children.
- Air pollution is the "new tobacco" and is responsible for 7 million premature deaths annually, writes WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a Guardian op-ed. The report is out on the eve of the group's Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health.
that air pollution poses on pregnant women. (Read more air pollution