10 Ways, Air Pollution Affect Human Health

10 Ways, Air Pollution Affect Human Health

Air pollution affects both environmental and body, this is known facts but we are still analyzing and understanding this question. 

According to the report published in  Active Sustainability, that,  air pollution risk our respiratory system, causes fatigue and headaches, anxiety, heart disease, damage to reproductive organs, liver, spleen, blood, and even the nervous system.

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, prolonged exposure to polluted air can cause emphysema, a chronic lung disease commonly associated with smoking. Air pollution, particularly exposure to ground-level ozone, is like smoking a pack of cigarettes every day for decades.

While lung damage may seem obvious, there are more insidious relationships.

There are many other little known causes as well, due to which pollution damages our health. Here are just a few:


1. Effects of pollution in Intelligence

When we think of air pollution, we usually think of it in terms of physical effects. But research has shown that it goes beyond physical health. Air Pollution also affects  our cognitive skills.

The Guardian reported that a study in China and the PNAS, published in proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that staying in unprotected air for too long could have the same effect as a year’s loss of intelligence.

According to the published report, long term exposure to the air pollution affects two areas of human mental abilities : Language and Mathematics.

Air pollution has more effect on white than gray matter and this White and Gray matter is present in our brain. White matter has the connection with person’s language skills whereas gray matter responsible for our ability to solve the mathematical problems. Therefor, speaking ability of person is mostly affected  than math skill air pollution.

A Chinese research team member, Xi Chen, of Yale School of Public Health says, the effect is worse for older people, especially people over 64, and for men and people with less education.

Researchers examined language and arithmetic tests conducted between 2010 and 2014 in a Chinese family panel study of 20,000 people across China. Results were studied based on air pollution levels with nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide at the time.


2. Pollution and Dementia

Dementia may be a syndrome during which there’s deterioration in memory, thinking, behaviour and therefore the ability to perform everyday activities.

Although dementia mainly affects older people, it’s not a traditional a part of ageing. Worldwide, around 50 million people have dementia, and there are nearly 10 million new cases per annum . Alzheimer disease is that the commonest sort of dementia and should contribute to 60–70% of cases.

Dementia is one among the main causes of disability and dependency among older people worldwide. Dementia features a physical, psychological, social, and economic impact, not only on people with dementia, but also on their carers, families and society at large.

According to a study published in BMJ Open, researchers in the United Kingdom have found that air pollution can potentially increase the risk of dementia by up to 40%.

In this study, Participants exposed to the highest levels of nitric dioxide had a 40% higher risk of developing dementia than those who were less exposed.

A Public Health Canada study published in The Lancet found that people living near major roads may be at greater risk of developing dementia.

The team screened 7 million adults between the ages of 20 and 85 living in Ontario using their zip code. Researchers looked at people who lived near highways and busy roads and compared the data to the number of people who developed some kind of neurodegenerative condition, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

The research team deduced that people who live within 50 meters (165 ft) of a main motorway or roadway have a 4% higher risk of developing dementia. The further away a person lived from major roadways and highways, the lower the risk. When someone’s house was more than 200 meters (650 ft) from the main roads, the risk disappeared.

A study published in the journal Translational Psychiatry suggests that women living in areas with unsafe particulate levels may be twice as likely to develop dementia.


3. Air pollution and mental health problems

The Guardian reported that a study by Hong Kong Polytechnic University found that people with mental and behavioral disorders were more likely to die on days when air pollution reached its peak. The study was published in Environment International.

Researchers looked at death records and statistics over a decade and found that the risk of death increased by 16% on the first day of heavy haze and by 27% on the second day. If severe ozone pollution is added to the mixture, the death rate rises to 79%.

This latest study is somewhat related to earlier studies that looked at increasing air pollution and suicide.

As part of the study, scientists examined the link between the risk of death and fog days. Fog days are those days when the level of pollutants in the air is so high that it is difficult to see the sky.

Further research proves how serious this problem is. In a meta-analysis published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, scientists analyzed studies conducted from January 1974 to September 2017. The data revealed a strong statistical correlation between toxic air and depression and suicide. It was like this all over the world.

Although scientists say they do not know whether air pollution is the cause of depression, they believe there is a link.


4. Air Pollution and mental illness in children and  adolescents

Swedish researchers conducted a study that found a link between air pollution and an increased risk of mental illness in children, reports The Guardian. The study was published in BMJ Open Journal.

Researchers looked at the medical records of 500,000 SWEDs under the age of 18 and found that more children and adolescents living in areas with high levels of air pollution were being prescribed antipsychotic and sedative-like medications for various mental disorders.

“The results may mean that low concentrations of air pollution, primarily from road traffic, can reduce mental health problems in children and adolescents,” study leader Anna Odinoff said. “I would worry if I lived in an area with high levels of air pollution.”

Professor Frank Kelly of King’s College London, who was not involved in the study, said the study “builds on existing evidence that children are particularly sensitive to poor air quality, perhaps because their lifestyles increase the amount of air pollution” Is. Also exposing – meaning they are more active – and developing organs may become more vulnerable until they are fully ripe. “

Interestingly, Sweden is not known for its high levels of air pollution.

“This suggests that other countries and cities are facing a greater challenge because they will have to significantly improve air quality to make it cleaner than in Sweden,” says Kelly.


5. Air Pollution and miscarriages

A study published in the journal Fertility and Sterility suggests that air pollution can increase the risk of miscarriage by more than 10%. Researchers at the US National Institute of Child Health and Development looked at the record of a long-term study conducted by the National Institutes of Health, which studied 501 couples between 2005 and 2009.

Out of 501 couples, 343 women became pregnant; 98 out of 343 women (28%) get miscarried within 18 weeks of pregnancy.

Researchers looked at pollution levels in areas where the couple lived to see if the pollution could have something to do with abortion.

They found that exposure to ozone air pollution increases the risk of miscarriage by 12%, and exposure to airborne particles increases the risk by 13%.

It is unclear whether air pollution was the direct cause of abortion, but researchers believe it may be related.

6. Air Pollution And Premature Birth

A study published in Environment International by researchers at York University’s Stockholm Environment Institute found that in 2010, an estimated 2.7 million prenatal (18%) worldwide were associated with potentially harmful fine particulate matter known as PM2.5

PM2.5 is a microscopic particle generated mainly from agricultural waste incineration, forest fires, power plants, diesel vehicles, and airplanes. PM2.5 is particularly harmful to the lungs.

In total, approximately 14.9 million children were born prematurely in 2010. About 14 to 15% of these preterm births occurred in Africa and South Asia, areas with high PM2.5 concentrations.

Premature births were prohibitively high in South and East Asia. Of the 2.7 million preterm births, approximately 1 million are believed to be associated with high PM2.5, and 500,000 in China.

7. Air Pollution and autism in children

A study conducted by The Harvard School of Public Health reveals the association between air pollution and autism risks for children. The study was published in Environmental Health Perspectives.

A child may be twice as likely to develop autism if she was born to a mother exposed to a high level of particulate matter during her pregnancy – especially during the third trimester of pregnancy.

The children were all children of participants in Nurses ‘Health Study II (now Nurses’ Health Study III). The nurses’ health study is one of the largest possible investigations into risk factors for major chronic diseases in women.

The research team looked at participants’ data based on their habitat and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Children who lived in areas where PM2.5 concentrations were higher were more likely to be diagnosed with autism. During each trimester (after pregnancy) and after, it was considered before contact between autism and PM2.5.

This information not only gives major insights, as we still pursue the origins of autism spectrum disorders but as a variable risk, opening the door to brooding about possible preventive measures. 


8. Pollution and brain development of infants

Air pollution can also affect a child’s brain development as particles enter the child’s bloodstream and travel to the brain. Oksana Kuzmina / Shutterstock

In 2017, UNICEF published a report that found that 17 million children under the age of 1 in South Asia are breathing in toxic air, which can hamper their brain development, India Today reports.

How air pollution affects infants’ brains are mostly neurodegenerative issues.

Particulate matter that is equal to or less than 2.5 microns (one micron is one-millionth of a meter) can penetrate our bloodstream with relative ease and make its way to the brain, with little effort in the blood-brain. Can damage the barrier and cause damage. The blood-brain barrier is a brain membrane that helps shield the brain from toxins.

Damage to the blood-brain barrier can cause neuroinflammation that can lead to neurodegeneration conditions. While children are not at risk of Alzheimer’s at such a young age, exposure to anything due to neurodegeneration at a developmental level can be considered harmful.

Also, air pollution particles such as magnetite – the most magnetic of all naturally occurring minerals – are of such size as that they can make their way into the body via the gut and olfactory nerve. The toxicity of magnetite is due to its magnetic charge which produces oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is also capable of causing neurodegenerative conditions.

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons – pollutants made from fossil fuels – cause damage to white matter in the brain. White matter is responsible for nerve communication within the brain and having not present white matter that functions properly, communication between neurons becomes difficult.

These three factors can pose significant challenges to the development of a healthy and functional brain.


9. Effects of Air Pollution on DNA

It has also been suggested that our DNA may be altered by exposure to air pollution.

In another study, researchers at the University of British Columbia asked volunteers to sit in a walled aquarium, where the pollution levels of the world’s most polluted cities were simulated and the room was filled with exhaust gases. Participants sat in the room for two hours.

Researchers took blood samples from participants before entering and exiting the room. Although they did not sit in a mist-filled place even after the participants’ DNA had been completely changed, the researchers noticed a difference in their DNA methylation patterns when they exited the room. The DNA methylation pattern is a layer of methyl molecules that turn genes on or off.

Results were similar for all participants, meaning that there is a high probability of a link between DNA changes and severe contamination.

Does this mean that we need to pack and move into areas where there is less pollution? Probably not – and it doesn’t look like it will fix anything anyway. However, all this information means that clean air pollution is a problem we thought of earlier.

10. Effects on bone Health of Air Pollution

According to the research is published in the JAMA Network Open Journal, that, air pollution can weaken our bones. 

After measuring PM2.5 levels in Hyderabad, South India, researchers analyzed the health of 3,717 people living in 287 villages. They looked to see if the mineral content in the bones had changed, which is used to measure bone strength and diagnose osteoporosis.

Those involved in the study are considered safe by the World Health Organization – three times exposed to an average PM2.5 of 32.8 micrograms per cubic meter per year. Researchers found that each additional 3 micrograms of PM2.5 have associated with a relatively minimal, but still noticeable, reduction in the mineral density of bones in the spine and hip.

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