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How bad is climate change and pollution? New study shows impacts

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Global warming and pollution are more life-threatening than drug abuse, war and terrorism, new research has found.
Global warming and pollution are more life-threatening than drug abuse, war and terrorism, new research has found.

Global warming and pollution are more life-threatening than drug abuse, war and terrorism, new research has found.

A recent international study observed how the impacts of climate change, like extreme heat, can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

Its findings, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, show air pollution contributes to up to nine million deaths annually.

Here’s what you need to know.

Pollutants

Researchers from Australia, Europe, Scotland, and the U.S. analysed the impacts of climate change and manmade pollutants on cardiovascular (heart) health.

More than 300,000 new synthetic chemicals have been created since 1950.

The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute in Sydney said “the human safety profile of many of these chemicals is unknown,” as scientists continue to investigate the long-term impact of these pollutants.

How bad is air pollution?

Air pollution is tied to up to nine million premature deaths and one in five heart disease deaths per year.

Up to 670,000 deaths were related to bushfire smoke, which can cause damage to cells and the heart when inhaled.

The study also found extreme heat caused by rising temperatures leads to several health issues, including dehydration and kidney failure.

Poor sleep patterns were attributed to noise and light pollution, which can lead to increased blood pressure and weight gain.

Call for action

Researchers recommended four main actions for world leaders:

  1. Better planning in cities to promote healthier behaviour, including more tree cover.
  2. Ending subsidies/incentives for fossil fuel companies.
  3. Launching public health campaigns to raise awareness about the dangers of pollution.
  4. Investment in renewable energy sources.

Australia

Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute Director, Professor Jason Kovacic, warned pollutants play an “ever-increasing role” in the number of deaths from heart disease

He said there’s an urgent need to improve how pollutants are monitored.

“We are witnessing unprecedented wildfires, soaring temperatures… and exposure to untested toxic chemicals in our homes. Our bodies are being bombarded with pollutants from every angle and they are taking a toll on our heart health.”

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