Airs and disgraces: how city pollution is killing residents

Dirty air accounts for the premature deaths of people in London, New York, Paris and Beijing.

Air pollution — both indoor and outdoor — has soared up the urban agenda. Exposure to fine particles in polluted air contributes to 7m premature deaths worldwide a year, often through heart disease, stroke or lung cancer, estimates the World Health Organisation. That’s about the same as the toll from tobacco, or 15 times recent annual deaths from war and homicides combined. Fine particulate air pollution also seems to increase the incidence of dementia, according to research by the US National Bureau of Economic Research and others.

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