Not only bad for the heart and lungs, but air pollution can also make the brain’s ability to be greatly decreased. A recent study found a link between air pollution exposure and brain ability.
A study conducted by Xi Chen, a public health researcher at Yale University, investigated air pollution in China by monitoring more than 25,000 respondents to see if there was a link between pollution and health problems. For that, he made a simple test of mathematics and language lessons to see the correlation with the level of air pollution.
Upon seeing the results, he found that people exposed to the longest air pollution experienced the sharpest decline in the value of their cognitive tests. The overall decline is roughly equivalent to losing one year of schooling!
Initially, Chen and the team thought this correlation might be driven by several other factors. But after carrying out further statistical tests, evidence that air pollution affects brain function is indisputable.
“This research shows that there are hidden social effects from very large air pollution,” Chen was quoted as saying by Wired.
Their research, published in the Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences is the first study to link air pollution with cognitive decline. A similar study conducted in London found that air pollution can be linked to the relations of the increase of dementia.
Air pollution can contain toxic air with a combination of particles released through burning fuel, pollen, ozone, and gases such as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide. Oxygen combines with sulfur particles released from exhaust fumes in cars, or nitrogen molecules from aerosols form toxic mixtures.
The most dangerous particles, PM2.5 are released by wood-burning and burning fossil fuels. The finer the particulate, the more dangerous it is for the body because it is too small to be filtered by the nose and lungs.