Pollution—whether it comes from a car’s tailpipe, a coal-fired power plant, or a toxic waste dump—claimed more than eight million lives around the world in 2017, fully 15 percent of all deaths. That’s according to a new report published by the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution, a coalition of environmental and health institutions and agencies.
In fact, pollution is the world’s leading cause of death, ahead of tobacco use, drug and alcohol use, and even war. And the United States is one of the leading sources of pollution-induced death. The Global Alliance on Health and Pollution study, drawing on data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, frames pollution as one of the world’s largest, yet most neglected public health threats.