BOSTON, April 18 (UPI) -- In Britain, more than 5,000 people die prematurely from lung cancer and heart disease each year due to auto emissions, more than die yearly from crashes.
Study leader Steven Barrett of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston said exhaust from airplanes caused a further 2,000 deaths annually while emissions from the energy and industrial sectors -- as well as pollution originating from Europe -- totaling 19,000 deaths per year in Britain due to air pollution, the Daily Telegraph reported.
British officials calculated that 1,850 people were killed in road accidents in 2010.
"It does appear to be the case that air pollution from road traffic causes more deaths per year than the number who die on the roads," Barrett said in a statement.
The researchers made their calculations comparing models of how gases circulate in the atmosphere against health statistics and clinical study findings.
The study published in the Environmental Science and Technology suggested 40 percent of the major pollutant -- particles which measure up to 2.5 micrometers in size come from abroad rather than from Britain.