13 Diseases Caused by Air Pollution

There are some environmental disasters that have been prevalent and these disasters can either be land, water, or air-based. These environmental disasters have been heightened in recent years due to an increase in environmental degrading activities by man.

These environmental disasters cause pollution and this pollution leads to different kinds of diseases. Diseases have adverse effects on our health and so, it would be advantageous to us that we tackle this menace from the root cause which is by minimizing the pollution in our environment.

Of all these diseases that are related to pollution, we want to take a deeper look at the diseases caused by air pollution.

But, before that,

What is an Air-Borne Disease?

A disease is said to be airborne if it is brought on by a pathogenic microbe that is small enough to be released from an affected person through coughing, sneezing, laughing, close contact, or aerosolization of the microbe.

When microorganisms, such as bacteria, fungi, or viruses, move through the air as aerosolized particles, they can spread diseases that are airborne from one person to another.

This is also a method of transmission for COVID-19, the common cold, and chickenpox. The microbes may originate from a sick human or animal, from dirt, trash, or other sources.

The released bacteria hang about in the air on dust, water, and respiratory droplets. Inhaling the bacterium, coming into contact with mucous membranes, or touching fluids still on a surface all result in illness.

13 Diseases Caused by Air Pollution

The following are 13 diseases that are caused by air pollution.

1. Asthma

One of the most prevalent illnesses brought on by air pollution is asthma. Breathing becomes challenging because it constricts, enlarges, and creates more mucus in the airways. Chronic air pollution condition known as asthma creates severe breathlessness that makes even daily, routine activities difficult.

2. Bronchitis

Bronchitis can result from prolonged exposure to increased levels of air pollution, particularly when there is a significant amount of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide in the atmosphere.

Air pollution can induce bronchitis, an acute or chronic condition that affects the lining of the bronchial tubes (which convey air to and from the lungs). Shortness of breath and a persistent, violent cough that produces thick mucus are the main signs and symptoms of bronchitis.

3. Lung Cancer

In 2013, the World Health Organization concluded that particle pollution can cause lung cancer. Smoking, exposure to cigarette smoke by non-smokers, some airborne pollutants, a family history, or prolonged exposure to toxic air pollution are the leading causes of lung or pulmonary cancer. Severe chest pain, a cough, a wheezing sound, hoarseness, and weight loss are typical symptoms.

4. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

COPD is a long-term condition that obstructs the lungs’ airways, making breathing difficult and causing wheezing and a persistent cough. One of the frequent diseases brought on by air pollution, COPD damages the lungs irreparably and can progress to more severe illnesses including bronchitis and emphysema.

5. Birth Defects

Air pollution disorders and birth defects can result from prenatal and neonatal exposure to hazardous air. Preterm birth, low birth weight, recurrent and chronic colds, coughs, numerous childhood allergies, and even neurological problems are some of the key causes of concern. To ensure a sufficient and regular quantity of clean, fresh, and unpolluted air, pregnant women are asked.

6. Immune System Disorders

Exposure to air pollution during pregnancy and the neonatal period can also weaken immunity, making the newborn more prone to a variety of health issues. Infant illnesses brought on by air pollution might cause serious health problems as they get older.

7. Cardiovascular Disease

The little particles in contaminated air can make blood vessels less effective and hasten the hardening of arteries.

According to NIEHS experts, post-menopausal women who are exposed to nitrogen oxides regularly for a short time have a higher risk of hemorrhagic stroke.

Low levels of high-density lipoprotein, or “good cholesterol,” may be caused by exposure to traffic-related air pollution (TRAP), which raises the risk of cardiovascular illnesses.

Furthermore, exposure to TRAP increases a pregnant woman’s risk of developing significant blood pressure fluctuations, often known as hypertensive disorders, according to a paper from the National Toxicology Program (NTP).

If someone searches “which diseases are caused by air pollution,” they should be aware that these are a major contributor to preterm birth, maternal and fetal illness, mortality, and low birth weight.

8. Pneumonia

This serious, occasionally fatal disease associated with air pollution affects both youngsters and the elderly. It is mostly brought on by the bacteria, fungi, and parasites found in contaminated air. It is a lung infection that results in pus-filled air sacs in one or both lungs, making breathing difficult and causing phlegmy coughs, fever, chills, and chills.

9. Leukemia

Leukemia is a blood and bone marrow cancer that causes bruising easily, discomfort in the joints and bones, bleeding, loss of weight, fever, and other symptoms.

Anyone interested in learning which disease is brought on by air pollution should be aware that leukemia can be brought on by occupational exposure to benzene, an industrial chemical, and ingredient in gasoline. Radiation exposure is one of the main causes of leukemia. and airborne hazardous substances, smoking, smoking in the family, etc.

10. Breast Cancer

The NIEHS Sister Study found a connection between additional harmful airborne compounds and a higher risk of breast cancer, specifically methylene chloride, which is used in paint removers and aerosol applications.

11. Strokes

When the blood flow to the brain is interrupted, strokes are caused by particulate air pollution. These are one of the illnesses brought on by air pollution and can be deadly, resulting in death or brain damage.

12. Heart Disease

According to a recent study, air pollution speeds up the blockage of arteries, which raises the risk of ischemic heart disease. The conditions known as coronary heart disease or ischemic heart disease, which are brought on by the accumulation of calcium or other substances like fat inside the coronary artery, are diseases brought on by air pollution. In turn, this leads to obstructions that stop blood flow to the heart and other organs.

13. Death

Some persons may experience unfavorable reactions to some airborne harmful contaminants, particularly those emitted by factories, which may result in asphyxiation and death. The number of young individuals passing away from illnesses and reactions brought on by air pollution is increasing.

According to the World Health Organization, household air pollution caused by the incomplete combustion of solid fuels and kerosene used for cooking results in the premature death of 3.2 million people each year from illnesses (see household air pollution data for details).

  • 32% of the 3.2 million deaths attributed to exposure to household air pollution are caused by ischemic heart disease. exposure to household air pollution causes nearly a million premature deaths annually or 12% of all fatalities from ischemic heart disease;
  • 21% are due to lower respiratory infections: exposure to household air pollution almost doubles the risk for childhood LRI and is responsible for 44% of all pneumonia deaths in children under the age of five.
  • 23% are due to stroke: approximately 12% of all deaths due to stroke can be attributed to the daily exposure to household air pollution resulting from using solid fuels and kerosene at home. Adults who have acute lower respiratory infections are in danger from household air pollution, which also causes 22% of all adult pneumonia deaths;
  • 19% of deaths are caused by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), with exposure to household air pollution accounting for 23% of all COPD deaths in people in low- and middle-income countries; and
  • 6% of deaths are due to lung cancer; almost 11% of lung cancer deaths in adults are linked to exposure to carcinogens from home air pollution brought on by using kerosene or solid fuels like wood, charcoal, or coal.

How to Avoid Diseases Caused by Air Pollution

  1. Review local daily air pollution projections. You can find out when the air quality in your area is unhealthy with color-coded forecasts. Local newspapers, radio and television weather broadcasts, as well as airnow.gov online, are among the sources.
  2. Steer clear of outdoor exercise during periods of heavy pollution. Use an exercise machine or go for a walk indoors in a mall or gym when the air quality is poor. If the air quality is poor, limit the time your youngster spends playing outside.
  3. Never go for a workout near busy locations. Even though the prognosis for the quality of the air is green, the traffic on congested highways can produce high pollution levels up to a third of a mile away.
  4. Conserve energy inside your house. Air pollution is produced during the production of electricity and other forms of energy. You can help the environment, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, support energy independence, and save money by using less energy. See the simple recommendations for energy conservation at home from the US Environmental Protection Agency.
  5. Encourage the school where your child attends to lessen emissions from school buses. Schools shouldn’t permit school buses to the idle outside of their structures to reduce emission levels. The U.S. EPA’s Clean School Bus Campaign is being used by many school districts to reduce these emissions.
  6. Bike, walk, or carpool. combine journeys. Instead of driving your car, use buses, subways, light rail systems, commuter trains, or other available options.
  7. Avoid burning rubbish or wood. In many regions of the nation, burning trash and firewood are two of the main sources of particulate pollution (soot).
  8. Rather than using gasoline-powered lawn care equipment, switch to hand-powered or electric models. Older two-stroke engines, including those in lawn mowers, leaf blowers, and snowblowers, frequently lack pollution control mechanisms. Although the engines sold since 2011 are cleaner, they can pollute the air much more than cars.
  9. Prohibit indoor smoking and encourage efforts to make all public spaces smoke-free.
  10. Participate. Check out our Healthy Air Campaign to learn more about what you can do to start.


Certainly, prevention is preferable to treatment. Everyone should work to eliminate pollution on a global scale by implementing sustainable and eco-friendly behaviors. However, problems relating to pollution won’t be resolved overnight. Buy a health insurance policy right once to cover the escalating medical bills and ailments brought on by pollution.

13 Diseases Caused by Air Pollution – FAQs

What is the most common air-borne disease?

The most common air-borne disease is Common Cold.

What is the most dangerous air-borne disease?

The most dangerous air-borne disease is Tuberculosis though air-borne diseases can lead to death.


A passion-driven environmentalist by heart. Lead content writer at EnvironmentGo.
I strive to educate the public about the environment and its problems.
It has always been about nature, we ought to protect not destroy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *