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  1. null (Ed.)
    Abstract. Anthropogenic secondary organic aerosol (ASOA), formed from anthropogenicemissions of organic compounds, constitutes a substantial fraction of themass of submicron aerosol in populated areas around the world andcontributes to poor air quality and premature mortality. However, theprecursor sources of ASOA are poorly understood, and there are largeuncertainties in the health benefits that might accrue from reducinganthropogenic organic emissions. We show that the production of ASOA in 11urban areas on three continents is strongly correlated with the reactivityof specific anthropogenic volatile organic compounds. The differences inASOA production across different cities can be explained by differences inthe emissions of aromatics and intermediate- and semi-volatile organiccompounds, indicating the importance of controlling these ASOA precursors.With an improved model representation of ASOA driven by the observations,we attribute 340 000 PM2.5-related premature deaths per year to ASOA, which isover an order of magnitude higher than prior studies. A sensitivity casewith a more recently proposed model for attributing mortality to PM2.5(the Global Exposure Mortality Model) results in up to 900 000 deaths. Alimitation of this study is the extrapolation from cities with detailedstudies and regions where detailed emission inventories are available toother regions where uncertainties in emissions are larger. In addition tofurther development of institutional air quality management infrastructure,comprehensive air quality campaigns in the countries in South and CentralAmerica, Africa, South Asia, and the Middle East are needed for furtherprogress in this area. 
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