air pollution smoke coming from factory at sunset

Air pollution is a serious threat to the planet and the human race.

Each year, the damage being done to our air quality is compounding and in some areas of the globe, the harm being done may be irreversible.

While the most vulnerable to poor air conditions are the youngest and oldest in society, no one is immune to the health risks that are associated with increasingly poor air conditions.

Understanding these air pollution facts and statistics below, and what it actually means to you and the world around you is important for many reasons.

Obviously, this information is important for your own safety and well-being, but also the more people that are informed, the more likely policymakers will be forced to do more to protect the air quality around us.

So, here are a few air pollution statistics to help you understand the issue and make for a better, cleaner and more informed society.

Air Pollution Data and Statistics

Fact #1:
Over 50,000 deaths per year in American are from pollutants in the air.

Fact #2:
Indoor air pollution is 2-5 times worse than the air outdoors.

Fact #3:
The average person inhales 7-8 liters air per minute which is around 11,000 liters of air each day.

Fact #4:
Using a True HEPA air purifier in the home can remove 99.97% of indoor air pollutants from the air you breathe. Air purifiers with permanent filters are the most cost-efficient.

Fact #5:
Though smoking is the face of lung disease, nearly 80% of lung illnesses are due to the air pollutants caused by automobiles and other fossil fuel burning machines.

Fact #6:
MIT research shows that nearly 13,000 UK citizens die every year from all the pollutants in the air.

Fact #7:
Most areas of the UK are breaking EU limits on air pollution, however, government plans won’t reduce pollution to legal levels until at least 2020 – and in London, 2025.

Fact #8:
When cars sit idle in traffic, pollutants sometimes seep inside of your vehicle. This stagnation can make the air inside your car up to 10x more worse than the air outside your car.

Fact #9:
People who live near areas with high automobile traffic face a greater risk of cancer, heart disease, asthma and bronchitis as these places contain more concentrated levels of air pollution.

Fact #10:
Air pollution and health-related issues are not a new discovery. In 1952 England, the “Great Smog of London” was responsible for 8,000 deaths.

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Fact #11:
The European Union spends 161 billion euros per year due to loss of life caused by pollutants in the air.

Breathing in polluted air takes away at least 1-2 years of an average human life.

Fact #12:
New electric cars produce far fewer pollutants than regular cars. This is almost as good as getting fossil fuel cars off of the road.

Fact #13:
Heavy crude production increases the chances of pollution by nearly 40% more than producing greener light crude.

Fact #14:
The Lancet journal found that waiting in traffic increases the chances of death due to a heart attack due to prolonged air pollution exposure.

Air pollutants are much more harmful than pollutants in water or on land since everyone must breathe air to live.

Fact #15:
Harmful toxic air pollutants are a much greater threat to young children because of the smaller size and capacity of the lungs.

Fact #16:
The fastest growing cause of the number of deaths in Asia is an illness from air pollution.

Fact #17:
The air pollutants which create smog have also been found to in the lungs of dolphins, causing black lung disease.

Fact #18:
Nearly 70% of air pollution found in major cities in China are from automobile exhaust.

Fact #19:
The rising level of air pollution in Beijing, China has brought on a new disease – the Beijing cough – a dry hacking accompanied by an itchy throat.

Fact #20:
Researchers estimate that nearly 750,000 victims of air pollution experience premature deaths in China every year. 300,000 deaths are due to outdoor air pollution and 350,000 to 400,000 are because of indoor air pollutants.

Fact #21:
Around the world, air pollution is the fourth largest killer, causing 6.5 million deaths annually.

Fact #22:
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has identified about 200 pollutants as air toxics and the estimated risk of cancer from air toxics is 730 million.

Fact #23:
90% of people living in California breathe unhealthy levels of one or more air pollutants during some part of the year.

Fact #24:
Nearly 5,000 early deaths in the Southern region of California are from pollutants emitting out of diesel engine trucks.

Fact #25:
Travelers to the Grand Canyon sometimes are not able to see across the canyon because of air pollution that is produced from over 1,000 miles away.

Fact #26:
Exposure to traffic and air pollution contributes to 12% of heart attacks around the world – the most of any factor.

Fact #27:
By 2050, an estimated 6.5 million people will die prematurely each year because of air pollution.

Fact #28:
Most of the truly hazardous pollutants get released through the air. More than what’s found in the land & water combined.

Fact #29:
One of the simplest ways in which you can reduce your own air pollution output is to walk or ride a bike.

Fact #30:
One full city bus can remove up to 40 cars from the road and tremendously reduce exhaust pollutants.

Fact #31:
Only a meager 28% of Americans believe they may be affected by air pollution made from by automobiles.

Fact #32:
The air pollutants produced by China are not only bad for China. The polluted air can travel as far away as the Central Valley in California.

Fact #33:
Nearly 25% of all deaths in India are the result of the extreme air pollution.

Fact #34:
Nearly 65% of all deaths in Asia are the result of pollution found in the air.

Fact #35:
The two million automobiles found in and around Manila, Philippines are responsible for 80% of the pollution found in the city’s air.

Fact #36:
Pollution found in the air around India is believed to have caused an estimated 527,700 deaths annually.

Air Pollution Statistics Takeaway

Reading about and knowing air pollution statistics is one thing, but doing your part to help is another.

Riding a bicycle, catching a bus, taking the train, or even choosing how often to mow your lawn are all little steps that can lead to big leaps forward for our environment and help lower the air pollution numbers listed on this page.

Making the environment clean and green is not only good for the planet and enjoyment of our time spent on it but having clean air also means having healthy people. Healthier people means happier people, happier people means safer people.

Cleaning our air can help save the planet and our own lives if we can help reduce the air pollution statistics on this list.

In the meantime, you can reduce the number of pollutants inside your home by using an air purifier to filter out these contaminants. Go to our best home air purifier reviews to find recommendations of the top air cleaners.

There are many options to choose from that fit every budget and size room you want to use the device in.

We also have an in-depth on what makes a good air purifier if you’re interested in learning about the ins and outs of these machines.

An air purifier is a great investment for anyone who wants to stay healthy and safe from the effects of air pollution.

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About Katherine Dyson

Katherine is the lead Staff Writer. She conducts in-depth research and interviews with industry experts in order to produce a wide range of content for the site. Her main role is to write helpful articles that aid people who are seeking to improve their indoor air quality and comfort. (See Full Bio)