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59 Air Pollution Facts And Statistics: No Made Up Numbers!

There are many things we can live without, clean air is definitely not one of them. Yet to this day, air pollution is still one of the biggest threat that kills millions of people each year. From mining, processing to crop burning, human activities are the pollutants biggest contributor. To give you a better perspective on how critical air quality is and why does it matter, let's look at below eye-opener facts and statistics.
Short answer
Do not underestimate the health effects of air pollution.
Chronic CoughNasal congestion (Rhinitis)Dry eyes/ Eye irritation (Conjunctiva)
Fatigue (Lethargy)Dizziness/ HeadacheNose bleeds (Epistaxis)
Sore throat (Pharyngitis)FeverWheezing
Rapid heartbeat (Tachycardia)Skin irritation/ rashesMuscle pain (Myalgia)
Nausea/ Vomit

Outdoor Air Quality Facts

  1. About 4,000 people die of asthma yearly in the United States.[1]
  2. In the same period of 2012, WHO estimated an even higher death toll at 6.5 million worldwide. That’s 11.6% of all global deaths. More than HIV/ AIDS, tuberculosis and road accidents death combined.[14]
  3. In 2017, air pollution contributes to 5 millions of deaths globally. That’s nearly 1 in every 10 death.[9]
  4. An estimated 50,000 to 120,000 annual premature deaths in the U.S. are linked with air pollutants.[1]
  5. More than 50 million Americans suffer from various types of allergies each year.[4]
  6. In 2010, Over 71,000 deaths per year in the United states are from air pollutants. That’s around 1 of every 35 deaths. As many as traffic accidents and gun shootings combined.[2]
  7. On the flip side, air pollution deaths in the United States has shrunk by 47 percent from 135,000 to 71,000 between 1990 and 2010.[2]
  8. Allergic rhinitis or hay fever affects 5.6 million of the children population below 18 and 19.9 million of the adult population.[3]
  9. Asthma affects more than 24 million people in the U.S. More than 6 million are children.[4]
  10. Air pollution in the UK causes approximately 13,000 premature deaths each year. Out of that, 5,000 of them die as a result of heart attacks and lung cancer by vehicle exhaust fumes.[7]
  11. Each year in the European Union (EU), air pollution causes about 400,000 premature deaths or on average 1000 deaths each day. Particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, and ozone are the main sources of pollutions.[8]
  12. In 2013, the EU Commission estimated the total health costs of air pollution is between €330 and €940 billion annually.[8]
  13. One-quarter of Europeans living in urban areas were exposed to air pollutant exceeding EU air quality standards up to 96%. This is according to the EEA report in 2015.[8]
  14. The 2014 EEA reported that fine particles (PM2.5) caused about 400,000 premature deaths, NO2 about 75,000 deaths, and O3 about 13,600 deaths in EU.[8]
  15. Clean Air Programme for Europe was introduced in December 2013 by European Comission. The goal is to reduce premature mortality due to PM and O3 by 52%.[8]
  16. At least 90% of the world’s population lived in areas that exceed the WHO Guideline for healthy air. That’s 9 out of 10 of the world’s population.[9]
  17. The top 10 countries with the highest mortality from air pollution are China (1.2 million), India (1.2 million), Pakistan (128,000), Indonesia (124,000), Bangladesh (123,000), Nigeria (114,000), the United States (108,000), Russia (99,000), Brazil (66,000), and the Philippines (64,000).[9]
  18. Particulate matters (PM2.5) contributed to nearly 3 million deaths or 5.2% globally in 2017. More than half of these deaths (52%) occurred in China and India.[9]
  19. Between 1990–2017, the number of deaths due to PM2.5 grew by 68%.[9]
  20. Long-term exposure to ozone accounted for nearly 500,000 deaths from COPD worldwide. That’s 20% increase between the period of 1990 to 2017.[9]
  21. Air pollution is at fifth spot in global ranking of risk factors 2017 by total number of deaths from all causes.[9]
  22. According to the WHO 2002 report, indoor air pollution is responsible for 2.7% of the global burden of disease.[10]
  23. Nearly 3 billion of the world’s poorest rely on solid fuels wood, biomass (animal dung, charcoal, crop wastes,) and coal to cook.[11]
  24. More than 50% of pneumonia deaths among children under 5 are due to indoor air pollution.[11]
  25. The average adult inhales and exhales 3000-3400 gallons (+-11,000 liters) of air each day.[16]

air pollution

Indoor Air Quality Facts

  1. In 2012, 4 million premature deaths are associated with household air pollution. Stroke is the leading cause that takes up 34%, ischaemic heart disease 26%, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 22%. Other death includes Pneumonia at 12% and lung cancer at 6%.[1]
  2. A typical home generates approximately 40 pounds of dust a year per 1500 square feet. One ounce of dust can contains about 40000 dust mites.
  3. At least 7000 checmical compounds are emitted in tobacco smoke and is one of the common causes of indoor air pollution.
  4. Americans on average spend 90% of their time indoors. 70% of that time is spent in their own home[5]
  5. The concentrations level of indoor pollutants are often 2 to 5 times higher than outdoor pollutants.[5]
  6. Particles that are 30 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair can past our body’s natural defenses.[6]
  7. In 2017, a total of 3.6 billion people worldwide were exposed to household air pollution. To break it down, India around 846 million people (60% of the population) were exposed to indoor air pollution. China, 452 million people (32% of the population). Bangladesh, 124 million people (79% of the population). Democratic Republic of the Congo, 78 million people (96% of the population).[9]
  8. Households that relies on solid fuels (gas) for cooking dropped from about 57% to 47% in the span between 2005 to 2017.[9]
  9. According to National Institutes of Health, only 27% of families that has indoor air quality issues will purchase an air purifier. More common actions include 80% of them would stop smoking, 54% would not have pets, and 43% would washing their bedding in hot water.[16]
  10. 87% of Americans home owners are not aware that indoor air quality at home is worse than outdoor air quality. This is from a study conducted by American Lung Association.[16]
  11. According to EPA, about 15 million people missed school days are attributed to poor indoor air quality at home. Also, more than 200,000 hospital trips in the U.S. are for the same reason.[16]
  12. About 1 in 6 people have allergy symptoms because of the exposure to bacteria and fungi found in their HVAC system.[16]
  13. Children are more affected by indoor air pollution due to their developing immune system. They also breathe in 50% more air per capita for their body weight.[16]
  14. 60-65% of breathing issues including asthma from school-age children could be alleviated with an air purifier. An air purifier trap and prevent particulates, tobacco smoke and microorganisms from spreading.[16]
  15. According to Kaz, 40% of consumers will spend more than $200 on a residential air purifier. 30% will spend at least $100 to a maximum of $200 on an air purifier.[16]
  16. 56% of buyers who purchase an air purifier for their home is above the age of 35. Only 7.4% of consumers in the 25-29 age demographic would likely purchase an air purifier.[16]
  17. 46% of homes in the United States with 2+ adults own an air purifier. That’s a big contrast as only 3% of single parents with children own an air purifier.[16]

air pollution economic effect

Economic Effects

  1. In 2000, the health costs for air pollutants is range between $40-50 billion.[1]
  2. Cost for asthma treatment has exceeded $4 billion. An asthmatic person experienced more than $100 million of restricted activity.[1]
  3. Acid rain from fossil fuel burning causes $6 billion worth of damage to crops, forests, land buildings annually.[1]
  4. Allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S. with an annual cost that exceeds $18 billion.[4]
  5. Clean Air Act will prevent at least 230,000 deaths and save $2 trillion annually by 2020.[6]
  6. The global leading players in air purifier market are Sharp, Panasonic, Philips, Daikin, and Honeywell. These companies account for more than 70% of total market value.[13]
  7. The Air Purifiers market was valued at $8.37 billion in 2018 and is projected to reach $10.1 billion by year 2025 (CAGR of 4.0%).[13]
  8. Granview report on global air purifier market size is valued slightly less at $7.27 billion in 2018. The estimated growth is higher though at a CAGR of 10.7% from 2019 to 2025.[15]
  9. Current top air purifier manufacturers are (descending order): Sharp, Philips, Panasonic, Daikin, Honeywell, Coway/ Airmega, Xiaomi, Electrolux, Whirlpool, YADU, Midea, Blueair, Lexy, Samsung, Austin, Beiangtech.[13]
  10. In 2013, Air Pollution deaths cost the global economy about US$225 billion in lost labor income.[12]
  11. The HEPA technology segment is anticipated to reach $5.33 billion in market value by 2025. On the other hand, Activated carbon technology is predicted o be the fastest growing technology segment. A projection growth of CAGR of 12.3% from 2019 to 2025.[15]
  12. The ionic filters technology segment held a revenue share 26.38% in 2018.[15]
  13. Asia Pacific is the leading regional market and accounted for 34.04% of total air purifier market revenue share in 2018. China and India is the biggest market contributor.[15]
  14. The North America air purifier market is forecast to reach $4.12 billion by 2025 due to aggressive marketing and surge in demand.[15]
  15. Europe air purifier market is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 9.9% due to growing awareness and high purchasing power.[15]
  16. Around 5.1 million air purifier/ air cleaners were sold through retail locations in the United States. That’s 80% of the global market for air purifier in 2014.[16]
  17. In the United States, more than 186 million people living in poor air quality area. 60% of them are exposed to ozone and other air pollution on a daily basis.[16]

What Can You Do To Improve Air Quality?

Air pollution is the biggest environmental risk to health in many parts of the world. It affects the young and the old, the rich and the poor, both male and female from all races. Instead of standing put and pray everything will be A-OK, you can actually do your part.

Car is a big fossil fuel burner player and polluter. When it is time to switch, choose a smaller cc engine, hybrid or electric car. Instead of driving, why not take the train, tram or bus? Public transport is terrible? Go carpool or even ride a bicycle.

Recycling also plays a big role in changing our air quality and prevent global warming. It cuts down on the need to process new material. Factories will emit less pollution because there is less demand in the market.

As for indoor pollution, start by finding out the sources of the pollutants and get it resolved as quickly as you can. Use safe, eco-friendly products as a substitute for your regular cleaning detergents. Replace gas home appliances like a gas stove, gas heater with electronic appliances. Next, upgrade your home ventilation system to improve airflow circulation. Lastly, get a HEPA air purifier to capture all the harmful airborne particles. Having Indoor air-filtering houseplants help as well.

Everything we do it involves air. When our air quality is below par, it can severely impact our focus level and performance because we are busy battling with our health. Everyone from baby, children, and elderly would be the most vulnerable to poor air quality. So if you are experiencing one or more of the below symptoms, you will need to be mindful on the surrounding.

Max Fernandez

A loving father and a dedicated reviewer for airfuji.com with more than 1000 air purifiers under his belt. Max Fernandez is also one of the million patients currently suffering from asthma. Feel free to nudge him if you have any questions.