Air pollution leads to environmental damage, but it can also harm the health of people. Some of the most common ailments in the world are diseases caused by air pollution. Air pollution can cause respiratory diseases, due to the pollutants people breathe in, yet it can also impact other areas of the body as well, like people’s hearts. What are the most common diseases caused by air pollution? How can air pollution be reduced to protect people from these diseases? The most common diseases caused by air pollution include ischemic heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer and acute lower respiratory infections in children. New research has established stronger links between both outdoor and indoor air pollution and the development of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Diseases caused by air pollutants kill and hospitalize millions of people every year. Estimates by the World Health Organization imply that one out of every eight deaths in the world is due to conditions associated with air pollution. The air pollutants that cause disease include what the EPA has categorized as “Criteria Air Pollutants.” These are the air pollutants that are the most abundant in the atmosphere, and consequently, they do the most damage to human health. These air pollutants have been singled out by the EPA as needing special attention to keep their levels within acceptable limits. The criteria air pollutants include Lead, Ozone, Particulate Matter, Nitrogen Dioxide, Carbon Monoxide, and Sulfur Dioxide.  

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