Almost everyone now breathing polluted air, warns WHO

An astonishing 99% of the world’s population breathes polluted air that exceeds internationally approved limits, with negative health impacts kicking in at much lower levels than previously thought, UN medical scientists said on Monday.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for concrete steps to reduce the use of fossil fuels, noting that they are responsible for the majority of harmful emissions linked to acute and chronic illness. The UN agency also urged more governments to take note of significant revisions to its air quality indicators, including for particulate matter (PM2.5), which can enter the bloodstream, as well as nitrogen dioxide (NO2), another common urban pollutant and precursor of particulate matter and ozone.

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