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Researchers estimate 1.30 million premature deaths in China in 2013 due to PM2.5 exposure

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.

Premature mortality (normalized to 2013 deaths) as a function of fractional reduction in PM2.5 concentrations (relative to the 2013 concentrations) for the entire China (CHN), Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei (BTH) in the NCP region, Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Shanghai (JZS) in the YRD region, and Guangdong (GD) in the PRD region. The solid dots represent the normalized premature mortalities when PM2.5 concentrations reduced to 35μg m-3 (CAAQS Grade II 832 standard, red dots). Credit: ACS, Hu et al. Click to enlarge.


  • 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



Most of those premature deaths are preceeded par long costly illnesses?

How much irreversable damages are done to other living creatures and environment? When are we going to reduce and/or stop burning bio and fossil fuels?


If this were reducible to statistics one could say that the life expectancy of the average China resident will be decreased by X years. But the quality of life will be diminished in multiple ways besides the persons own health.
Family members, work colleagues and the loss of skilled and academics will show up as a severe handicap for the whole country by extension we are all losing from this extreme example.

Just some of the reason we need to double down on the real problems of our times.

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