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posted by martyb on Saturday May 14 2016, @04:57PM   Printer-friendly
from the clean-it-up dept.

Over 80 percent of the world's city dwellers breathe poor quality air, increasing their risk of lung cancer and other life-threatening diseases, a new World Health Organization (WHO) report warned Thursday.

Urban residents in poor countries are by far the worst affected, WHO said, noting that nearly every city (98 percent) in low- and middle-income countries has air which fails to meet the UN body's standards.

That number falls to 56 percent of cities in wealthier countries.

"Urban air pollution continues to rise at an alarming rate, wreaking havoc on human health," Maria Neira, the head of WHO's department of public health and environment, said in a statement.

There may be something to this--children in New York City are twice as likely to be hospitalized for asthma as the national average.


Original Submission

Related Stories

UNICEF Says 17 Million Babies Worldwide Breathe Air Pollution Six Times Worse Than Recommended Limit 12 comments

Toxic air puts 17 million babies' brains and lungs at risk: UNICEF

About 17 million babies worldwide live in areas where outdoor air pollution is six times the recommended limit, and their brain development is at risk, the U.N. children's agency (UNICEF) said on Wednesday.

The majority of these babies – more than 12 million – are in South Asia, it said, in a study of children under one-year-old, using satellite imagery to identify worst-affected regions.

"Not only do pollutants harm babies' developing lungs – they can permanently damage their developing brains – and, thus, their futures," said UNICEF executive director Anthony Lake.

The links between air pollution and dain bramage are not yet conclusive, according to the report's author.

UNICEF press release. Danger in the air (PDF).

Related: Air Quality Unsafe for 90% of People In Urban Centres
80 Percent of World's City Dwellers Breathing Bad Air: UN
Study Links Pregnant Women's Exposure to Air Pollution to Shorter Telomeres in Babies
Lancet Report Says Pollution Caused 9 Million Premature Deaths in 2015
Air Pollution Linked to Osteoporosis and Bone Fractures


Original Submission

Air Pollution Linked to Osteoporosis and Bone Fractures 8 comments

Air pollution has been linked to weakening of bones:

Poor air quality may be a modifiable risk factor for osteoporosis and bone fractures, especially among people living in low-income communities, according to a newly published analysis of data from two independent studies.

In one study researchers documented higher rates of hospital admissions for bone fractures in communities exposed to elevated levels of ambient particulate matter (PM2·5) air pollution in an analysis of data on more than nine million Medicare enrollees.

In another 8-year follow-up of approximately 700 middle-age, low-income adults participating in a bone health study, participants living in areas with relatively high levels of PM2·5 and black carbon vehicle emissions had lower levels of a key calcium and bone-related hormone and greater decreases in bone mineral density than participants exposed to lower levels of these air pollutants.

All associations were linear and observed -- at least for part of the PM2·5 distribution -- at PM2·5 concentrations below the annual average limits set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (12 μg/m3) and most other industrialized nations.

[...] The researchers acknowledged multiple limitations in both studies, which limit the ability to establish causality. But in an editorial [open, DOI: 10.1016/S2542-5196(17)30143-2] [DX] published with the studies, Tuan Nguyen, PhD, of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in New South Wales, Australia, wrote that the studies are just the latest in a growing body of research linking air pollution exposure to osteoporosis: "Osteoporosis and its consequence of fragility fracture represent one of the most important public health problems worldwide because fracture is associated with increased mortality."

Association of air particulate pollution with bone loss over time and bone fracture risk: analysis of data from two independent studies (open, DOI: 10.1016/S2542-5196(17)30136-5) (DX)

Related: 80 Percent of World's City Dwellers Breathing Bad Air: UN
Study Links Pregnant Women's Exposure to Air Pollution to Shorter Telomeres in Babies
Lancet Report Says Pollution Caused 9 Million Premature Deaths in 2015


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 2, Disagree) by Justin Case on Saturday May 14 2016, @05:21PM

    by Justin Case (4239) Subscriber Badge on Saturday May 14 2016, @05:21PM (#346111)

    Obvious solution: Stop breathing!

    Democrat solution: If you're a member of any identifiable victim group, whine about the way things are without ever asking what is the cause. Propose lots of legislation, regulation, taxes and spending, much of which will go to favored states instead of helping. But if you're a white male adult, stop breathing.

    Capitalist solution: Find a way to charge for clean air, then stink up the commons to "drive demand" for your product.

    Libertarian solution: Since you may not harm people without their consent, polluters must pay full restitution to whoever can show damages. This makes polluting more expensive than doing the right thing, rewarding the good guys and hopefully putting the bad guys out of business.

    --
    No fair-minded person can dispute: the sex-rich should be forced to give say perhaps 40% of their sex to the sex-poor.
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Gravis on Saturday May 14 2016, @05:28PM

      by Gravis (4596) Subscriber Badge on Saturday May 14 2016, @05:28PM (#346112)

      you forget the Republican solution: deny that there is a problem and threaten to ban the UN from meeting in New York! (^_^;)

      • (Score: 2) by schad on Saturday May 14 2016, @06:01PM

        by schad (2398) on Saturday May 14 2016, @06:01PM (#346122)

        The Republican solution is "We don't care, urban areas don't vote for us anyway."

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 14 2016, @05:53PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 14 2016, @05:53PM (#346118)

      The libertarians, more ideologically naive than all other parties. Gj.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 14 2016, @10:18PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 14 2016, @10:18PM (#346185)

      Since all libertarians care about is greed and their ego, they will just find a way to isolate themselves in some "utopia" dome where sooner or later they'll evolve physically in the monsters they already are mentally.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 15 2016, @01:52AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 15 2016, @01:52AM (#346240)

        Interestingly, we have naked greed on display with this election, and more than enough ego to go around.

        All with minimal input from libertarians.

        How do you suppose that is?

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by RamiK on Saturday May 14 2016, @05:46PM

    by RamiK (1813) on Saturday May 14 2016, @05:46PM (#346115)

    Urban air pollution continues to rise at an alarming rate

    You can live right next to a coal power plant, and still get better air than what people used to have in winter.

    --
    compiling...
  • (Score: 1) by milsorgen on Saturday May 14 2016, @05:46PM

    by milsorgen (6225) on Saturday May 14 2016, @05:46PM (#346116)

    One can't help but wonder if when we look back will personal vehicles be seen as an overall boon or bust? Seems everything from our health to the very way our cities have been built has ended up suffering over the long haul.

    --
    On the Oregon Coast, born and raised, On the beach is where I spent most of my days...
    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 14 2016, @06:27PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 14 2016, @06:27PM (#346128)

      You forgot to mention how you posted your comment from your phone while you were waiting 30 minutes for the next bus to arrive.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 15 2016, @01:31AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 15 2016, @01:31AM (#346232)

        while you were waiting 30 minutes for the next bus

        During peak hours, the #60 bus here runs every 12 minutes.
        Following the same path, the 560 Bravo bus only stops at major intersections, making for a quicker commute for those traveling longer distances and/or not needing to board/exit at intermediate stops.
        The 543 Bravo bus does that going north-south.
        The 557 Bravo line too.

        If your transit department isn't getting it done, why aren't you bitching out loud about that to the folks with the power to change things?

        ...and while you're waiting for something to happen, you can't think of *anything* interesting to do with that gadget you carry??

        -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

      • (Score: 2) by butthurt on Sunday May 15 2016, @05:50AM

        by butthurt (6141) on Sunday May 15 2016, @05:50AM (#346319) Journal

        GP mentioned "the very way our cities have been built." If not for the space devoted to motorways, parking lots, and repair shops, cities could be somewhat smaller and trips could be shorter. If not for the way that the automobile makes long trips convenient, housing, industry, schools, hospitals, and shopping would be sized and placed differently, so that long journeys wouldn't be an everyday event. Instead of waiting half an hour for a bus, then spending another half hour riding it, bus trips could be quicker, and walking or bicycling could be practical options.

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by khallow on Saturday May 14 2016, @09:26PM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday May 14 2016, @09:26PM (#346166) Journal
      If we ignore the immense benefit that cars have brought over the last century, then of course, it's a bust. It's a boon otherwise.

      The problem here is that people choose to live this way. While mass transit isn't everywhere, it is enough places that we can see that there is a clear preference among most people to live in suburbs and deal with traffic over living next to a mass transit node and riding the train or bus.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 15 2016, @01:06AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 15 2016, @01:06AM (#346224)

        a clear preference among most people to live in suburbs

        Do you have a map to that wonderful city which has 30 percent of its housing stock unoccupied such that that is a viable option to looking farther away?
        Y'know, a place where folks can pick and choose from a wide selection of available properties.
        Extra points if those places are affordable.

        people choose to live this way

        Most folks pretty much take pot luck and are thankful that they found that.
        Gentrification is but one of the items making things more difficult.

        The more you describe things, the less your existence sounds like the world in which most people live.

        -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday May 20 2016, @05:27AM

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday May 20 2016, @05:27AM (#348633) Journal

          Do you have a map to that wonderful city which has 30 percent of its housing stock unoccupied such that that is a viable option to looking farther away?

          Here you go. [google.com] Only problem is that a city with 30 percent of its housing stock unoccupied tends to be a dive like Detroit.

          people choose to live this way

          Most folks pretty much take pot luck and are thankful that they found that.

          I think you're unclear on what choice and preference mean. It doesn't mean getting what you want all the time. Nor is this some lottery where you're given a random piece of property and have to make do with what you get. Sure, if you don't want to put any time in, it's luck of the draw what will be on the market at the time and your ability to negotiate will be limited. But if you're willing to put some time in, then there are a lot of real estate choices available.

          The crowded city centers are not something you can wish away. It still means a lot of people prefer not to live there in those conditions and have chosen not to do so. Humanity has had a long time to work on making cities more pleasant with modest success. They still haven't figured it out (in large part because too many people is a huge negative) and most solutions these days are the strategy of making the more rural alternatives so inconvenient that city centers look attractive in comparison.

  • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 14 2016, @06:30PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 14 2016, @06:30PM (#346129)

    Uber is appy, bro. Apps gonna fix everthing.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 15 2016, @01:17AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 15 2016, @01:17AM (#346228)

      If the hire-a-ride gig economy does solve something, I suspect it will be the thing where expensive machinery sits idle for 95 percent of the time.

      Now, if rides could be pooled nicely during peak hours and all the hire-a-ride vehicles were electric, *that* would seriously impact the air quality problem.

      -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by jmorris on Saturday May 14 2016, @07:30PM

    by jmorris (4844) Subscriber Badge <jmorrisNO@SPAMbeau.org> on Saturday May 14 2016, @07:30PM (#346143)

    Since prehistory cities have been nasty, smelly and unhealthy at the same time they exert an attraction because of the benefits. Most of the world is still existing in a state where they are themselves in a pre-industrial civilization but with access to enough Western tech to build up simulacra of modern cities... that lack most of the things that make them safe enough to actually live in. But even our own metro areas are less safe than the countryside and probably always will be. So decide what is important to you and quit bitchin'.

    Oh, and next time the UN and the rest of the New World Order types are pushing to force everybody into cities, tell them to STFU.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 15 2016, @04:13AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 15 2016, @04:13AM (#346278)

      > Since prehistory cities have been nasty, smelly and unhealthy

      Just because something has been doesn't mean it should continue to be.
      Or perhaps you'd prefer that your children risk polio?