The use of G20 countries can contribute to millions of premature deaths

A new study, published in the journal Nature Communications with information from 2010, reveals that nearly two million premature deaths due to atmospheric contamination they could be attributed to the consumption of goods in the G20 countries.

O G20 It is an intergovernmental forum made up of 19 countries and the European Union, and its members represent around three quarters of international trade.

According to the authors, the emissions of fine particles PM 2.5 –Those with a size equal to or less than 2.5 microns in diameter– are associated with some 4 million premature deaths per year, most of which occur in low- and middle-income countries.

PM 2.5 fine particle emissions are associated with an estimated 4 million premature deaths per year, most of which occur in low- and middle-income countries

Air pollution emissions are generally related to the production of goods that are consumed in other, often high-income, countries. Recent research has looked at how cross-border pollution transport – which is created in one country and affects another – affects health as well as pollution-related emissions. Business.

However, the impact of international consumption on health as a result of PM 2.5 emissions is still not well understood, especially with regard to the formation of secondary particles, which are generated in the atmosphere as a result of other emissions.

Premature Deaths and G20 Consumption

In this context, Keisuke Nansai, researcher of the National Institute of Environmental Studies (Japan) and his team carried out a modeling study to quantify how the consumption of the 19 G20 countries influences global mortality due to primary and secondary PM 2.5.

For this, they drew a map of the environmental PM 2.5 and estimated the health impact due to exposure to these particles in 199 countries, which were later linked to trade and consumption of goods in the G20 nations.

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The authors found that in 2010 consumption in the G20 nations caused 1,983 million premature deaths with an average age of 67 years. Furthermore, they suggest that, of these, 78,600 occurred in babies. Of the G20 nations, China, India, the United States (USA), Russia and Indonesia had the largest premature mortality footprint due to PM 2.5.

It is estimated that in 2010 consumption in the G20 nations caused 1,983 million premature deaths, of which 78,600 in babies

These mortalities, except in the United States, occurred mainly within its own borders. The researchers also indicate that consumption of products in the United States and ten other G20 nations has induced More than 50% of premature deaths associated with PM 2.5 in other countries.

“Since most of these deaths occur in developing countries, if there are no coordinated efforts at the international level, this polarized situation will continue”, emphasize the authors of the article, whose results help to understand the responsibility of consumers in some countries, especially the rich ones. , in global mortality.

The work’s conclusions highlight that the cross-border direct transport it’s not the only way countries can cause air pollution elsewhere. Therefore, G20 countries must take collective action to reduce the number of premature deaths associated with its use, the researchers indicate.


Nansai et al. “Consumption in the G20 nations causes particulate air pollution, resulting in two million premature deaths annually.” Nature Communications. 2021

Rights: Creative Commons.


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