Air pollution

Air pollution affects millions of people worldwide, stemming from diverse sources. Both household and outdoor air pollution pose severe threats related to cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, cancers, and other conditions. 

Photo by Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin.

4th highest risk as a health issue, making air pollution a top risk factor for death worldwide.
40% of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is attributable to air pollution.
192 million YLLs (years of life lost) were due to air pollution in 2019.
48% of deaths due to air pollution occurred in South Asia.

Interactive data visuals

GBD Compare

Compare trends in air pollution and its contribution to deaths and disability due to causes like COPD and lower respiratory infection.

Datasets in our catalog

Visit the Global Health Data Exchange (GHDx) to download our estimates and data sources for air pollution.


Air pollution data from the Global Burden of Disease

In 2019, air pollution was the leading Level 2 risk factor for DALYs among all environmental and occupational risks. It contributed to 213 million DALYs and 6.67 million deaths in 2019.




Air quality and health in cities

This State of Global Air report provides an overview of air pollution levels and associated health impacts in cities around the world.


Global Burden of Disease from Major Air Pollution Sources (GBD MAPS): A Global Approach

Published by the Health Effects Institute, Research Report 210 presents a study conducted by Dr. Erin McDuffie and Dr. Randall Martin of Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, Dr. Michael Brauer at The University of British Columbia in Canada and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), and colleagues.



Global Burden of Air Pollution

New research shows that more than 5.5 million people die prematurely every year due to household and outdoor air pollution. More than half of deaths occur in two of the world’s fastest growing economies, China and India.


2015 Roux Prize Winner

Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, Former Minister of Health of Rwanda, used Global Burden of Disease data and evidence from the Ministry’s own data-gathering efforts to ensure the country’s limited resources are saving the most lives and reducing suffering.



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