According to calculations by the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, 8.8 million premature deaths annually can be attributed to it – 1.6 million more than from smoking.

According to calculations by the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, 8.8 million premature deaths annually can be attributed to it – 1.6 million more than from smoking.

This leads to extreme pollution from exhaust gases, especially on large roads. A simple device can protect the children. If you want to get some fresh air with your baby or toddler, you should avoid routes with heavy traffic – at least if you are traveling with a low stroller or buggy. Because the small amount of space they can lie or sit on could lead to children inhaling significantly more harmful exhaust gases than adults.

This is the result of a study by the British Global Center for Clean Air Research (GCARE) at the University of Surrey. The scientists also write in the journal “Environment International” that even a simple stroller cover can significantly reduce the pollution for the youngsters. Previous studies have already shown how harmful car exhaust can be for babies and toddlers If their organs – especially the lungs – are still maturing, such pollutants can have consequences for neuronal development as well as for the development of the respiratory system. At the same time, children breathe very quickly – in relation to their body weight, their breathing rate is almost twice that of adults.

To find out how great the exhaust gas pollution really is, the research team led by environmental engineer Prashant Kumar measured the pollution in three different tests: – with a buggy with a view of the street, – with a car with a view of the pushing adult and – with a double-decker A buggy with staggered space for two children. With these three cars, the researchers ran a two-kilometer route to and from a school dozen times – once between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. and between 3 and 5 p.m. Instead of a child, however, there was a measuring device in the buggy. The pollutant load was also recorded at the adult’s head level. Regardless of the type of stroller, the scientists found that babies and toddlers could inhale up to 44 percent more harmful exhaust gases than the pushing adults. In the analysis of the fine dust particles, they mainly found emissions from brake and tire particles. In the case of the two-story buggies, the child on the lower floor would be exposed to 72 percent more pollutants than those sitting higher up.

This observation by the environmental engineers suggests that the seat or lying height of a stroller plays a major role. In general, the exposure to traffic hotspots such as bus stops and intersections was greatest. In an earlier study, the research team had shown that toddlers and babies in prams and buggies are exposed to significantly more air pollution than adults who push the car. The problem is not only that the children are closer to the exhaust pipes of vehicles due to the low sitting or lying height.

At the same time, according to the result of a Swedish long-term study from 2012, car exhaust fumes are particularly harmful to infants and young children. Especially in the first twelve months of life, their lungs react sensitively to air pollutants: children who grew up in a busy environment at that time showed significantly reduced lung function eight years later, according to the conclusion of the researchers from the Swedish Institute for Environmental Medicine, but the current British one Study also gives an indication of how children could be protected. The scientists investigated whether covers, such as those known as rain protection, have an effect.

In fact, these reduced the concentration of fine, harmful pollutant particles by up to 39 percent, with coarser particles it was as much as 43 percent. “” Our studies show that decisions such as the type of stroller used can influence the level of pollution for a child “” , summarizes Kumar. “” Our study confirms that stroller covers and increasing the buggy surface appear to protect children from a significant amount of exhaust emissions under certain conditions. “” Source:, Alice Lanzke, dpa “Smog is over the northern Italian city of Turin. (Photo: picture alliance / dpa) Especially in metropolises and industrial areas, people are exposed to high levels of air pollution. Apparently, the dirt particles also increase the risk of Covid 19 disease. According to the doctor Thomas Münzel, some of the corona deaths are due to increased fine dust pollution. The cardiologist Thomas Münzel assumes that in regions with high levels of air pollution the risk of Covid-19 disease also increases. “” Both fine dust and the virus attack the endothelium, i.e. the lining of the blood vessels, and cause inflammation “” , said Münzel in the “” Spiegel “”. If a long exposure to air pollution comes together with a corona infection, there is a greater susceptibility to Covid-19. Contaminated air could also increase the spread of the coronavirus.

The RNA of Sars-CoV-2 had been detected in fine dust samples in northern Italy. “Air pollution accounts for around 15 percent of Covid 19 deaths,” says Münzel. A study published in the journal “Cardiovascular Research” indicates this. Conversely, this means that lower air pollution also helps against Covid-19. But for Münzel, fine dust alone represents a far greater risk. According to calculations by the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, 8.8 million premature deaths can be attributed to it annually – 1.6 million more than from smoking.

In contrast to the risk of particulate matter, the corona pandemic will respond much faster. The reason for this is “” that the virus kills immediately. Fine dust, on the other hand, kills more slowly, more secretly, “” continues Münzel.

These dead are more or less accepted. In the short term, however, as a side effect of the pandemic, pollution has decreased in many parts of the world. To reduce personal particulate matter pollution, Münzel recommends wearing a mouth and nose cover. On the other hand, only an FFP2 mask helps against ultra-fine dust. There are also apps that display the fine dust pollution in the outside air. The WHO recommends a limit value for particles with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers of a maximum of 10 micrograms per cubic meter of air, but the EU limit would be 25.

However, phasing out fossil fuels, gas, oil or coal could cut the number of deaths in half. Source:, mdi “Thick smoke over Milan: According to the study, poor air quality is the most serious health factor. (Photo: picture alliance / dpa) Dirty air and chemical pollution are the most dangerous environmental factors for EU citizens. According to a study by the European Environment Agency, one in eight deaths across the EU can be associated with them. The member states are affected differently. According to a study, the EU states Around one in eight deaths related to environmental pollution. 630,000 deaths in 2012 in the European Union and the then still part of the UK could have been attributed to environmental pollution, according to the European Environment Agency (EEA) study.

This corresponded to a share of 13 percent. The 2012 data are the most recent available for the study. The Copenhagen-based EEA identified air pollution and exposure to chemicals as environmental factors that pose the greatest risk to the health of EU citizens.

Other harmful factors included in the report include high levels of noise and extreme weather as a result of climate change. Environmental pollution is associated in particular with cancer and diseases of the cardiovascular system and respiratory tract. The EU Environment Agency stressed that eliminating “environmental risks” could prevent deaths from these diseases. The EEA also highlighted the strong regional disparities within the EU. Almost every fifth death in Romania is due to environmental pollution. According to the report, this was the highest proportion in the EU. In Denmark and Sweden, the proportion of deaths related to environmental pollution was one in ten, the lowest in the European Union. Source:, chf / AFP “Colorful, loud, polluting: The New Year will traditionally be with rockets and firecrackers (Photo: picture alliance / dpa) Starting today, fireworks will be sold, and you can go off on New Year’s Eve.

With the result that January 1st is the day with the highest particulate matter value of the whole year in many places. Doctors sound the alarm and call for fireworks to be stopped. On Monday, millions of people in Germany will again pull out lighters and matches to greet the New Year with rockets. But fireworks have a downside for health: fine dust levels regularly shoot up on New Year’s Eve, especially in large cities. Because of the consequences for young children, the elderly and the chronically ill, the German Society for Pneumology and Respiratory Medicine (DGP) has called for fewer fireworks to be used or to be avoided entirely.

These groups suffered particularly frequently from coughs and breathing difficulties at the beginning of the new year, and there were more hospital admissions. The Federal Environment Agency (UBA) expects the release of around 4500 tons of fine dust on New Year’s Eve – the smallest particles, mostly invisible to the human eye. That is roughly the same as in previous years, said UBA meteorologist Ute Dauert. “How big the actual fine dust pollution becomes on New Year’s Eve and how quickly it subsides depends on the weather conditions.” “In the first hour of the new year, the fine dust values, which are normally around 20 micrograms per cubic meter of air, can be , sometimes shoot up to 2000 or up to 4000, as Dauert explained.

If there is a cold high pressure weather situation with very limited air exchange, the fine dust pollution only decreases very slowly. This means that the tiny pieces that are created when fireworks are set off can stay in the air for several days – according to the expert, this can mean extremely high daily mean values ​​of more than 500 micrograms per cubic meter in individual cases. At least from a health point of view, one could hope for rain and storms on New Year’s Eve: Then the fine dust values ​​usually fall back to normal within hours.

That was the case on New Year’s Eve 2017/2018. Experience has shown that cities like Berlin, Munich and Hamburg are particularly affected by high levels of particulate matter on New Year’s Eve. Metropolitan areas where many people shoot fireworks in a confined space, for example on party miles.

In general, according to the UBA, the highest particulate matter value of the whole year is reached in many cities on January 1st. Extremely high levels of particulate matter can cause acute problems such as coughing and breathing difficulties for young children, the elderly, but also for asthmatics and chronic lung patients. These people could hardly protect themselves because even respirators did not completely filter the mini-particles, according to the DGP.

Even healthy people should know the scratching of the throat and the burning sensation in the eyes after the fireworks. According to the UBA, permanently elevated values ​​are more important for people’s health than individual events such as New Year’s Eve. Expert Dauert also emphasized that there is no threshold for fine dust below which no harmful effects on the population are to be expected. Fireworks account for a good two percent of total particulate matter emissions in Germany, said Dauert. If you only use road traffic emissions as a comparison, fireworks make up around 15 percent of the amount released each year.

Fine dust is produced in traffic by combustion engines, but also by tire wear. Other sources include, for example, industry, power plants and wood stoves. In addition, there are natural sources of fine dust, so that a certain basic pollution is inevitable.

Depending on the particle size, fine dust can not only get deep into the lungs and bronchi, but also into the blood and cause diseases of the cardiovascular system. Overall, the population in Germany is losing 600,000 years of life every year due to air pollution with fine dust, the DGP announced. Fine dust is now also being discussed as a risk factor for dementia.

The EU limit values ​​for fine dust have largely been complied with in Germany in recent years – but this is also due to the fact that the permissible values ​​are in some cases significantly higher than the guideline values ​​recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). Source:, Gisela Gross, dpa “White foggy smoke from chimneys hangs over downtown Milan. (Photo: Claudio Furlan / LaPresse / dpa) Despite positive trends, human influences on the environment still claim hundreds of thousands of deaths every year in Europe alone. A report now identifies the most serious environmental sins One of them stands out. More than 400,000 people in the European Union die prematurely every year from the effects of air pollution. This is the result of a report by the European Environment Agency (EEA). The report used data on the impact of the environment on health and analyzed the well-being of Europeans.

According to this, air pollution remains the greatest environmental threat to health in Europe. In 1990, however, the number of premature deaths due to it was still one million. In second place is noise pollution, which leads to 12,000 premature deaths, the report said. The effects of climate change are also increasingly having their share, for example heat waves and floods.

People in urban environments are particularly affected by the consequences of climate change, said Catherine Ganzleben from the EEA. Other factors mentioned by the Environment Agency are chemical compounds, resistance to pathogens due to excessive use of antibiotics and polluted drinking water. The clear difference between the countries in Eastern and Western Europe is also striking. In many Eastern European countries, the rate of premature deaths from environmental factors is much higher than in Western Europe. Bosnia and Herzegovina has the highest share of deaths related to environmental pollution at 27 percent, while Iceland and Norway have the lowest at 9 percent.

The situation in Germany is also comparatively good. The studies are based on data from the World Health Organization (WHO) on the causes of death and disease from 2012. According to this, around 13 percent of annual deaths in the EU – this corresponds to 630,000 premature deaths – can be traced back to Reduce environmental factors and would therefore be avoidable.