Using new PM2.5 exposure methods, researchers in China have estimated 1.30 million premature deaths in China in 2013 due to PM2.5. Their findings, presented in a paper in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, are consistent with other estimates (1.37 million and 1.36 million) calculated using different PM2.5 exposure methods.
Causes of premature death included adult ischemic heart disease (IHD) (0.30 million); cerebrovascular disease (CEV) (0.73 million); chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (0.14 million); and lung cancer (LC) (0.13 million) in 2013. The source-oriented modeling determined that industry and residential sources were the two leading sources of increased mortality, contributing to 0.40 (30.5%) and 0.28 (21.7%) million deaths, respectively. Transportation contributed to 5.7% of the premature deaths. Power generation contributed 10.3%.
Secondary ammonium ion from agriculture, secondary organic aerosol, and aerosols from power generation were responsible for 0.16, 0.14 and 0.13 million deaths, respectively.
The researchers also calculated that achieving a 30% reduction in premature deaths would require an average of 50% reduction of PM2.5 throughout the country, and by 62%, 50%, and 38% for the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei, Jiangsu-Zhejiang-Shanghai, and Perl River Delta regions, respectively.
Reducing PM2.5 to the Grade II of the Chinese Ambient Air Quality Standard (CAAQS) (35 μg m-3) would only lead to a small reduction in mortality. A more stringent standard of <15 μg m-3 would be needed to achieve a significant reduction.
Jianlin Hu, Lin Huang, Mindong Chen, Hong Liao, Hongliang Zhang, Shuxiao Wang, Qiang Zhang, and Qi Ying (2017) “Premature Mortality Attributable to Particulate Matter in China: Source Contributions and Responses to Reductions” Environmental Science & Technology doi: 10.1021/acs.est.7b03193