Estimates of global mortality burden associated with short-term exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2·5)

Wenhua Yu, Rongbin Xu, Tingting Ye, Michael J. Abramson, Lidia Morawska, Bin Jalaludin, Fay H. Johnston, Sarah B. Henderson, Luke D. Knibbs, Geoffrey G. Morgan, Eric Lavigne, Jane Heyworth, Simon Hales, Guy B. Marks, Alistair Woodward, Michelle L. Bell, Jonathan M. Samet, Jiangning Song, Shanshan Li, Yuming Guo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The acute health effects of short-term (hours to days) exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2·5) have been well documented; however, the global mortality burden attributable to this exposure has not been estimated. We aimed to estimate the global, regional, and urban mortality burden associated with short-term exposure to PM2·5 and the spatiotemporal variations in this burden from 2000 to 2019. Methods: We combined estimated global daily PM2·5 concentrations, annual population counts, country-level mortality rates, and epidemiologically derived exposure–response functions to estimate the mortality attributable to short-term PM2·5 exposure from 2000 to 2019, in the continental regions and in 13 189 urban centres worldwide at a spatial resolution of 0·1° × 0·1°. We tested the robustness of our mortality estimates with different theoretical minimum risk exposure levels, lag effects, and exposure–response functions. Findings: Approximately 1 million (95% CI 690 000–1·3 million) premature deaths per year from 2000 to 2019 were attributable to short-term PM2·5 exposure, representing 2·08% (1·41–2·75) of total global deaths or 17 (11–22) premature deaths per 100 000 population. Annually, 0·23 million (0·15 million–0·30 million) deaths attributable to short-term PM2·5 exposure were in urban areas, constituting 22·74% of the total global deaths attributable to this cause and accounting for 2·30% (1·56–3·05) of total global deaths in urban areas. The sensitivity analyses showed that our worldwide estimates of mortality attributed to short-term PM2·5 exposure were robust. Interpretation: Short-term exposure to PM2·5 contributes a substantial global mortality burden, particularly in Asia and Africa, as well as in global urban areas. Our results highlight the importance of mitigation strategies to reduce short-term exposure to air pollution and its adverse effects on human health. Funding: Australian Research Council and the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e146-e155
Number of pages10
JournalThe Lancet Planetary Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2024


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