1 in 5 baby deaths is because of pollution

The authors of this new study combine household survey-based information on the location and timing of nearly 1 million births across sub-Saharan Africa with satellite-based estimates of exposure to ambient respirable particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter less than 2.5 μm (PM2.5) to estimate the impact of air quality on mortality rates among infants in Africa. They find that a 10 μg per cubic meter increase in PM2.5 concentration is associated with a 9% (95% confidence interval, 4–14%) rise in infant mortality across the data-set. This effect has not declined over the last 15 years and does not diminish with higher levels of household wealth. The author’s estimates suggest that PM2.5 concentrations above minimum exposure levels were responsible for 22% (95% confidence interval, 9–35%) of infant deaths in the thirty study-countries and led to 449,000 (95% confidence interval, 194,000–709,000) additional deaths of infants in 2015, an estimate that is more than three times higher than existing estimates that attribute death of infants to poor air quality for these countries

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