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Most cities fail air pollution guidelines, U.N. says

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Air pollution Many cities are “enveloped in dirty air” that is dangerous to breathe, a director of the United Nations’ World Health Organization said Wednesday.

A database covering 1,600 cities in 91 countries, released Wednesday, indicates only 12 percent of people living in those cities breathe air that complies with WHO air pollution guidelines. About half of the urban populations in the cities in question are exposed to air pollution at least 2.5 times higher than the guidelines suggest.

“Too many urban centers today are so enveloped in dirty air that their skylines are invisible,” said Dr. Flavia Bustreo, WHO Assistant Director-General for Family, Children and Women’s Health.

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