Vietnam News

Air pollution cuts Hanoian lifespan by 2.5 years

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Life expectancy among Hanoians is reduced by 2.49 years on average due to exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5), a recent study indicates.

“Research on the impact of air pollution caused by PM2.5 dust on public health in Hanoi in 2019” by the Hanoi-based non-profit organization Live and Learn for Environment and Community (Live&Learn), Hanoi University of Public Health (HUPH), and Vietnam National University’s University of Engineering and Technology is the first study to use data provided by local authorities to evaluate the burden of disease caused by impacts of PM2.5 dust pollution on public health in Hanoi.

The study was carried out within the framework of a project called “Joining Hands for Clean Air” funded and supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in 2019-2022.

A report issued last week to announce the study’s results said total PM2.5 dust concentration across Hanoi in 2019 had exceeded the national standard threshold.

Specifically, the annual average concentration of PM2.5 dust in the city is in the 28.15 µg/m³ to 39.4 µg/m³ range compared to the threshold recommended by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment at 25 μg/m³.

Downtown districts Dong Da, Ba Dinh and Hai Ba Trung have the highest concentration of PM2.5.

PM2.5 is defined as ambient airborne particulates that measure up to 2.5 microns in size, just a fraction of the width of a human hair. Their microscopic size allows these particles to be absorbed deep into the bloodstream upon inhalation, potentially causing health effects like asthma, lung cancer, and heart disease. Exposure to PM2.5 has been linked to negative health effects like cardiovascular disease, respiratory illness, and premature mortality.

The study revealed the burden of diseases related to death and hospitalization due to exposure to PM2.5 dust in Hanoi in 2019 was “significant.”

The number of premature deaths due to exposure to PM2.5 dust hit 2,855 cases, equivalent to about 35.5 premature deaths per 100,000 people while the life expectancy lost from exposure to PM2.5 dust totaled 908 days, or 2.49 years for Hanoians, it stated.

The study also showed with the increase in the average annual concentration of PM2.5 dust in Hanoi, there are an average of 1,062 more hospital admissions for cardiovascular disease each year, and about 2,969 cases that must be hospitalized for respiratory diseases, equivalent to 1.2 percent and 2.4 percent of the total number of hospital admissions due to the two groups of diseases among Hanoi residents, respectively.

Researchers, however, noted the results in this study could be much lower than in reality “due to the lack of data.”

The study uses the assumption that the lowest annual average PM2.5 concentration value of Hanoi in an ideal area is 22.9 µg/m3, which is higher than the WHO recommendation (10 µg/m3) for community health and safety.

In addition, the results of PM2.5 dust mapping could have been affected by errors in data from air monitoring stations in Hanoi, they said.

By Minh Nga – – August 19, 2021

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