Intended for healthcare professionals


Pollution: 90% of world population breathes air that exceeds WHO targets on particulate matter

BMJ 2023; 380 doi: (Published 15 March 2023) Cite this as: BMJ 2023;380:p615
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. Kent

The UK, along with 117 other countries, exceeded the World Health Organization target on fine particulate matter in 2022, a report on world air quality shows.

Only 12 countries were within the guideline value of 5 μg/m3 for annual PM2.5 concentrations, said the fifth annual study by IQAir, a Switzerland based air technology group.1 These included Australia, New Zealand, Estonia, and Finland.

The report, which includes an interactive map, is based on data from 30 000 air quality monitoring stations in more than 7000 cities. These stations measure the concentration of fine particulate matter, the world’s leading cause of environment related deaths. WHO estimates that poor air quality accounts for seven million preventable deaths a year.

After surging pollution levels were seen in 2021 after the post-covid reopening of many economies around the world, the latest data show a more mixed picture. Richer countries were more likely than poorer countries to show …

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