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WHO: More Than 90 Percent Of Kids Around The World Breathe Toxic Air

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WHO: More Than 90 Percent Of Kids Around The World Breathe Toxic Air
A new report from the World Health Organization says around 600,000 children died from the harmful effects of polluted air in 2016.
SHOW TRANSCRIPT

A majority of children around the world breathe toxic air regularly — and it's causing some significant adverse health effects, according to the World Health Organization. 

A new WHO report says more than 90 percent of kids under the age of 15 are exposed to toxic air. That's around 1.8 billion children. 

Researchers looked at how both outside and household pollutants impacted the health of young people. They found that in 2016, the harmful effects of pollution contributed to the deaths of an estimated 600,000 children. The findings also showed that in children under the age of 5, pollution is linked to one in 10 deaths. 

Experts say excessive exposure to pollution during childhood affects neurodevelopment and can lead to the onset of asthma and childhood cancer. It may also trigger a higher risk of developing chronic conditions, like cardiovascular disease, as an adult. 

According to the WHO, children are more susceptible because they inhale pollutants more rapidly and are closer to the ground, where there are higher concentrations of some pollutants.

The organization is calling for a reduction in fossil fuel dependence and an increase in reliance on renewable energy. It's also pushing for logistical solutions, like locating schools and playgrounds away from busy roads and factories. 

The report was published just ahead of the WHO's first global conference on air pollution and health, which starts Tuesday. 

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN