Air pollution killed 476,000 newborns in 2019, with the biggest hotspots in India and sub-Saharan Africa, according to a new global study which said that nearly two-thirds of the deaths came from noxious fumes from cooking fuels.
More than 116,000 Indian infants died from air pollution in the first month of life, and the corresponding figure was 236,000 in sub-Saharan Africa, according to a State of Global Air 2020 study released on Wednesday.
The estimates were produced by the United States-based Health Effects Institute (HEI) and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s Global Burden of Disease project.
The authors wrote they relied on a growing body of evidence linking mothers’ exposures during pregnancy to air pollution with the increased risk of their infants being born too small or too early.
Overall, the report found that air pollution led to 6.7 million deaths worldwide in 2019, making it the fourth leading cause of death behind high blood pressure, tobacco use, and dietary risks.