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These Are the Worst Cities for Your Health

Living in a city comes with several potential health risks, including polluted air and water quality. But what cities are the worst for your health?

Obviously when you're referring to your health that's a bit of a broad spectrum and could deal with everything from the effects on your allergies, to the impact on your skin. According to financial website WalletHub's data on the worst cities for your skin, conducted on the largest U.S. cities (with criteria including the rates of melanoma incidence, skin health and care and pollution and smoking), El Paso, Texas, comes in first place overall. Followed by another two Texan states, San Antonio and Austin.

However, a broader study on the rest of the world was conducted by the World Health Organization, and focused on air pollution, which according to Business Insider, results in the death of 3.3 million people each year. The most harmful pollutant to humans is a particle that is less than 2.5 microns (referred to as PM 2.5) which can be found in dust, soot and smoke and can have long-term affects on your health — including chronic lung disease and asthma.

According to the World Health Organization, the "highest urban air pollution levels were experienced in low-and middle-income countries" in the Eastern Mediterranean and South-East Asia Regions.

Curious as to which cities made it onto the list? In 2016 the results were as follows: Coming in at number 15 on the list is Kanpur in India, with 115 µg/m3 of PM 2.5 (this is 11 times the annual mean of PM 2.5 that's considered healthy.) Tied in thirteenth place was Shijiazhuang, China, with 121 µg/m3 of PM 2.5 (which is largely due to industrial activity), and Dammam, Saudi Arabia, also with 121 µg/m3 of PM 2.5 (due to the oil industry).

But on the other end of the list determining the worst cities for your health was Allahabad, India, in third place with 170 µg/m3 of PM 2.5 (apparently when the Ganges river dries up it releases dust particles into the air). While in second place was another Indian city, Gwalior, which had a whopping 176 µg/m3 of PM 2.5 (coal powered plants and cars play a big part in the pollution of this area), and the absolute worst city for your health? Zabol in Iran, with 217 µg/m3 of PM 2.5 (this is due to excessive dust in the air).

[Image via Shutterstock]

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