About Careers MedBlog Contact us

Should Insurance Cover Deaths Caused By Air Pollution?

by Rishika Gupta on January 26, 2019 at 11:54 AM
Font : A-A+

 Should Insurance Cover Deaths Caused By Air Pollution?

Should air pollution be named as one of the silent killers? You bet, it should. It is the secret cause of the death of 7 million people every year, says the World Health Organization.

Air pollution has now emerged as a major environmental risk factor for health. "The health effects of air pollution are serious - one-third of deaths from stroke, lung cancer, and heart disease are due to air pollution. This is having an equivalent effect to that of smoking tobacco, and much higher than, say, the effects of eating too much salt" (WHO).


In 2016, as per WHO, ambient or outdoor air pollution caused an estimated 4.2 million premature deaths worldwide in both cities and rural areas; 58% of outdoor air pollution-related premature deaths were due to ischemic heart disease and strokes, while 18% of deaths were due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and acute lower respiratory infections respectively, and 6% of deaths were due to lung cancer. More than 90% of these deaths occurred in low- and middle-income countries.

And it's just not outdoor air pollution; household (indoor) air pollution also causes 4 million deaths annually.

Pollutants with the strongest evidence for public health concern include particulate matter (PM), ozone (O3), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2).

Air pollution has been identified as a trigger of acute cardiovascular events (myocardial infarction and stroke). A recent study presented at Heart Rhythm 2018, the Heart Rhythm Society's 39th Annual Scientific Sessions, which evaluated 112,700 women in the ongoing Nurses Health Study showed that lower-risk women exposed to particular matter (PM) for even a short amount of time are at an increased risk of sudden cardiac death. This association was significant on cold days - at low temperatures below 13°C.

In a report published by the ICMR in The Lancet Planetary Health in December 2017, ICMR clearly stated that 1.24 million deaths in 2017 were caused by exposure to air pollution; one in eight deaths was due to the constantly deteriorating air quality. ICMR also observed that life expectancy in India is reduced by 1.7 years on an average due to bad air quality.

This report was considered devoid of merit by the Environment ministry.

But, prior to the ICMR report, in 2015, the health ministry had released a report saying that air pollution causes impacts similar to that of tobacco smoking. The report also said that there was evidence of adverse pregnancy outcomes, tuberculosis, asthma exacerbation, cancer and thus, air pollution needs to be addressed during public health programs.

The environment ministry maintains that since no death certificates have pollution listed as the reason of death, there is no correlation between air quality and deaths due to the same.

Doctors do not mention pollution as a cause of death, because pollution is not recognized as a cause of death and has no insurance coverage. Natural disasters are generally not covered in routine insurance.

However, these statistics only serve to emphasize that perhaps the time has come to declare pollution as one of the causes of all sudden deaths, particularly when the pollution levels in the city are high.

Source: Eurekalert


Recommended Reading

Latest Environmental Health

Canadian Food Packaging Contain High Levels of Toxic PFAS 'Forever Chemicals'
High levels of toxic PFAS 'Forever Chemicals' are found in Canadian fast-food packaging.
Phthalate Alternative may Pose a Huge Threat to Brain Health
Are phthalate alternatives safe for human health? Acetyl tributyl citrate (ATBC), used as a phthalate substitute, may affect brain health.
 Global Warming Rising Deadly Waterborne Bacteria Infection
Climate change caused raise in fatal bacterial infection by Vibrio vulnificus from about 10 a year to about 80 over 30 years along the U.S. East Coast.
New Device Helps Measure Air Pollution
Air pollution is a major global threat. Scientists have developed a new device to measure the air quality.
Do Dry Cleaning Chemicals Trigger Parkinson's Disease?
Trichloroethylene (TCE), a common dry cleaning chemical is more likely to increase Parkinson's disease risk.
View All
This site uses cookies to deliver our services.By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use  Ok, Got it. Close

Should Insurance Cover Deaths Caused By Air Pollution? Personalised Printable Document (PDF)

Please complete this form and we'll send you a personalised information that is requested

You may use this for your own reference or forward it to your friends.

Please use the information prudently. If you are not a medical doctor please remember to consult your healthcare provider as this information is not a substitute for professional advice.

Name *

Email Address *

Country *

Areas of Interests