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Air pollution: most national limits are unsafe for human health – new WHO guidelines

By Suzanne Bartington, Clinical Research Fellow in Environmental Health, University of Birmingham
Roy Harrison, Queen Elizabeth II Birmingham Centenary Professor of Environmental Health, University of Birmingham
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The combined effect of indoor and outdoor air pollution is estimated to cause seven million early deaths each year worldwide. The most harmful pollutants include nitrogen dioxide (NO₂) and fine particulate matter, or PM2.5 – particles smaller than 2.5 micrometres – which can penetrate deep into the lungs and enter the bloodstream.

Exposure to particulate pollution over years or decades can reduce a person’s life…

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