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According to the WHO, bad air quality was responsible for 7 million deaths in 2012. In this interview Paulo Saldiva, dean of the department of pathology at the University of São Paulo, explains that there are no measures to protect people against air pollution, and so public health policies are vital to avoid serious consequences, particularly in large cities. He says the science needed to address the risks of air pollution is in place, but that poor countries lack the resources to implement it with solutions that work locally.