Recent studies have shown a relationship between air pollution and increased vulnerability and mortality due to COVID-19. Most of these studies have looked at developed countries. This study examines the relationship between long-term exposure to air pollution and COVID-19-related deaths in four countries of Latin America that have been highly affected by the pandemic: Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico. Our results suggest that an increase in long-term exposure of 1 μg/m3 of fine particles is associated with a 2.7 percent increase in the COVID-19 mortality rate. This relationship is found primarily in municipalities of metropolitan areas, where urban air pollution sources dominate, and air quality guidelines are usually exceeded. By focusing the analysis on Latin America, we provide a first glimpse on the role of air pollution as a risk factor for COVID-19 mortality within a context characterized by weak environmental institutions, limited health care capacity and high levels of inequality.
Sustainable Development Goals
Bonilla, J. A., Lopez-Feldman, A., Pereda, P. C., Rivera, N. M., & Ruiz-Tagle, J. C. (2023). Association between long-term air pollution exposure and COVID-19 mortality in Latin America. PLOS ONE, 18(1), e0280355. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0280355