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Air pollution kills 50,000 people in UK

Words: Huw Morris

Around 50,000 deaths in the UK are linked to air pollution, according to a major international medical study unveiled today.

The UK is 55th out of 188 countries measured in the research, published by The Lancet, behind the USA and many European countries including Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland.

In Europe, only Belgium had a worse record than the UK in the proportion of deaths attributed to pollution.

The research, which looked at causes of death in 2015, found overall pollution claimed nine million lives worldwide – one in six of all deaths – with air pollution accounting for 6.5 million. The most severely affected countries include India, Pakistan, China, Bangladesh, Madagascar, and Kenya where up to a quarter of all deaths were caused by pollution.

The next largest risk factor, water pollution, accounted for 1.8 million deaths, while pollution in the workplace was linked to 800,000 deaths globally.

Previous research by the Royal College of Physicians and Royal College of Paediatrics and Health in 2016 had estimated that 40,000 people died in the UK from air pollution.

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