A new study says that water, air and soil pollution account for up to 40% of deaths worldwide each year. That’s 62 million deaths that could have been prevented.

In LiveScience.com, Andrea Thompson quotes ecologist David Pimentel as saying, “We were surprised with the number. [This] suggests the importance of the environment as it’s related to our deaths.” He goes on to say that “water is one of the major concerns, without any question.” The World Health Organization estimates that around 1.1 billion people do not have access to clean water and that waterborne infections account for 80% of all infectious diseases around the world. According to Pimental, for many people in the world, “it’s a challenge just to get clean water.”

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