Photo: © Thomas Bethge/

Air pollution biggest global killer

In the recent Global Burden of Disease, particulate matter air pollution was the leading contributor to the global disease burden in 2021, contributing 8% of total DALYs, followed by high systolic blood pressure and smoking. Disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) are a measure of overall disease burden, expressed as the number of years lost due to ill-health, disability, or early death. There has been progress and success related to maternal and child health, WaSH, smoking and household air pollution. We need to sustain those and focus on reducing exposure to other leading risk factors such as ambient particulate matter air pollution, says the authors.

Global Burden of Disease 2021: Findings from the GBD 2021 Study


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