Air pollution adversely affects health in much of the world. Outdoor air pollution has several components, including various gases as well as tiny particles of solids or liquids that are suspended in the air, often called ambient particulate matter. This type of pollution can occur naturally, as with dust storms or forest fires, but motor vehicles and manufacturing facilities are the main sources. Ambient particulate matter pollution is an important cause of premature death and ill health worldwide. Household air pollution is also a major issue, mainly in low-income countries. This results from burning solid fuels, such as wood, dung, and plant matter, while cooking indoors.
Breathing polluted air has been linked to lower respiratory infections like pneumonia, cardiovascular disease – including ischemic heart disease and stroke – some cancers, and chronic respiratory diseases such as COPD. Household air pollution and ambient particulate matter pollution are among the top risk factors for loss of healthy life years, according to the Global Burden of Disease study.