By Xiu Ying
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – A study by the Ministry of Health shows that the number of deaths classified as resulting from air pollution has increased fourteen percent in ten years. There were 38,782 deaths in 2006 and 44,228 in 2016, according to the study “Saúde Brasil 2018”, released this week on World Environment Day.
The study contemplates deaths classified within the “Chronic Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs)” category, with data from the Mortality Information System (SIM). The highest incidence of cases is related to large urban centers and states hit by wildfires.
According to Saúde Brasil 2018, the computation of deaths linked to air pollution followed the methodology and data of the “Global Burden of Disease”, which considers several factors such as magnitude of mortality, potentially lost number of years of life, fraction of cerebrovascular diseases, ischemic heart disease, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and lung cancer.
Main causes of death
Ischemic heart disease ranks first in the cause of death, followed by cerebrovascular disease and cancer. However, there was a more significant increase in the latter group.
“In Brazil, there was an increase in deaths from lung, tracheal, and bronchial cancer and COPD attributed to pollution in both genders. However, the cases in women for lung, tracheal and bronchial cancer (37.6 percent) and COPD (18.9 percent) were higher than in men (11.4 percent),” said the Ministry of Health.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 4.2 million premature deaths are attributed to atmospheric air pollution in the world every year. From this total, 91 percent occur in low and middle-income countries in the Pacific and Southeast Asia.
The organization also believes that air pollution in 2016 was responsible for approximately 58 percent of premature deaths from cerebrovascular diseases (CVD) and ischemic heart disease (ICD); 18 percent from COPD and low acute respiratory infection; and 6 percent from lung, tracheal and bronchial cancer.