Global | Report: Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health

The Report from The Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health analyzes and communicates the massive scope of the health and economic costs of air, water, and soil pollution. Through analyses of existing and emerging data, the Report reveals pollution’s severe and underreported contribution to the Global Burden of Disease. It uncovers the economic costs of pollution to low- and middle-income countries, and compare the costs of inaction to the costs of available solutions. It informs key decision makers around the world about the burden that pollution places on health and economic development, and about cost-effective pollution control solutions and strategies. The Commission will bring pollution squarely into the international development agenda.

“Coal is the world’s most polluting fossil fuel, and coal combustion is an important cause of both pollution and climate change.” – The Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health, 2017

Key findings:

  1. Pollution Causes 16% Of All Deaths Globally: Diseases caused by pollution were responsible in 2015 for an estimated 9 million premature deaths – 16% of all deaths worldwide – three times more deaths than AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined; and fifteen times more than all wars and other forms of violence. It kills more people than smoking, hunger and natural disasters. In some countries, it accounts for one in four deaths.
  2. Pollution Disproportionately Kills The Poor And The Vulnerable: Nearly 92% of pollution-related deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. Within countries, pollution’s toll is greatest in poor and marginalized communities. Children face the highest risks because small exposures to chemicals in utero and in early childhood can result in lifelong disease and, disability, premature death, as well as reduced learning and earning potential.
  3. Pollution Is Closely Tied To Climate Change And Biodiversity: Fossil fuel combustion in higher-income countries and the burning of biomass in lower-income countries accounts for 85% of airborne particulate pollution. Major emitters of carbon dioxide are coal-fired power plants, chemical producers, mining operations, and vehicles. Accelerating the switch to cleaner sources of energy will reduce air pollution and improve human and planetary health.


The commission noted that while more than 70 per cent of the diseases caused by pollution were non-communicable diseases, the issue of pollution control was “barely mentioned” in the World Health Organization’s Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases.

Download the report in English

Download the report in Spanish

Download the report in French

For more information on the report, visit:

Launch events:

  • October 23 in New York, United States with live stream
  • October 26 in Brussels, Belgium with live stream
  • November 14 in New Delhi, India
  • November 30 in the Philippines

For details on the launch events, visit:




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