• Directory of Taiwan

Excessive exposure to PM2.5 cost 6,000 lives last year: research

Excessive exposure to PM2.5 cost 6,000 lives last year: research

Taipei, Dec. 24 (CNA) More than 6,000 people died of diseases exacerbated by excessive exposure to particulate matter smaller than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5) in Taiwan last year, according to research by National Taiwan University released Thursday.

PM2.5, known to be linked to several chronic health problems, caused the deaths of 2,240 ischemic heart disease patients, 2,140 stroke patients, 1,250 lung cancer patients and 645 chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients, the research shows.

The top three administrative areas recording PM2.5-related deaths are Yunlin County, Nantou County and Kaohsiung, accounting for 21.8 percent, 21.7 percent and 21.6 percent of the victims, respectively.

Lin Hsien-ho, an associate professor of the university's College of Public Health, said exposure to PM2.5 can also increase the risk of developing active tuberculosis, as the exposure could change the function of the immune cells that protect against the bacteria that causes the disease.

Each increase of 10 µg/m³ in the amount of PM2.5 exposure can raise the chance of developing tuberculosis by 39 percent, Lin said.

He added that each increase of 10 parts per billion in the amount of exposure to the traffic pollutants nitrogen dioxide and nitrogen oxide can increase by 33 percent and 21 percent, respectively, the chances of getting the disease.

The annual PM2.5 level in Taiwan was 25 µg/m³ last year, 2.5 times the World Health Organization's safe level, he said, urging the government to launch preventive measures to safeguard people's health. (By Lung Pei-ning and Lee Hsin-Yin)

Updated : 2021-09-25 03:48 GMT+08:00