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Air quality affects the lifespan of individuals

People in China are dying three years early because of airborne particulates, which are also impacting the health of people around the world 

(see lost years in: 2017, Nature Vol. 551, 291-293)

Atmospheric chemistry affects the lifespan of air pollutants. Linking these effects is far from straightforward, for several reasons. The outdoor air pollution has many sources. Residential heating and cooking, especially using fuel stoves and fires in low-income countries, have the greatest impact on mortality. These explain roughly 1.35 million deaths per year. Agriculture has the next biggest impact, contributing to one-fifth of deaths— largely through ammonia released by manure and fertilizer use, which combines with sulfate and nitrate in the air to form ammonium sulfate and ammonium nitrate and thus PM2.5. Power generation, industry and traffic also contribute to ozone and PM2.5. Pollutants interact with one another also emissions can be blown in from other continents

Transboundary health impacts of PM2.5 pollution associated with international trade are greater than those associated with long-distance atmospheric pollutant transport. 

Zhang et al (Nature, 2017)

Why do asthma patients suffer at the beginning of each New Year?

Besides waste gas emissions from industry and vehicles the ignition of fireworks can contribute to air pollution. Massive letting-off of fireworks within a short period of time on the New Years results in an extreme pollution event. Airborne aerosols such as sulphate, nitrate, ammonium, particulate organic matter, black carbon, and other chemicals (i.e. heavy metals) are known to be associated with premature death, aggravated asthma, increased hospital admissions, increased respiratory problems, and coronary heart disease. 

Unfortunately, there is no study showing air pollution caused by New Year's Eve fireworks on global scale. We suggest such a study with short term (controlled) exposures across the globe (including with various climate zones). Such data can be extrapolated and used for other similar (less controlled) exposure scenarios.

HAPPY NEW YEAR to EOM members, supporters and readers