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Report Ties Air Pollution to 6.5 Million Deaths Globally

FILE - Schoolchildren wear masks to filter out particulate matter in Shenyang, Liaoning province, China, Nov. 13, 2015.

The International Energy Agency says each year about 6.5 million deaths worldwide are linked to air pollution and warns that the number will grow unless the energy sector steps up its efforts to slash emissions.

In the agency's first report on the subject, the IEA projected Monday that premature deaths from outdoor air pollution would rise to 4.5 million by 2040, from 3 million today, while premature deaths from household air pollution would drop to 3 million from 3.5 million.

However, the report said a 7 percent increase in investments in clean-burning cook stoves, cleaner fuels and other measures by 2040 could result in sharp health improvements.

Outdoor air pollution comes mainly from power plants, factories and cars while household pollution stems from dirty cook stoves, primarily in developing countries.