Air pollution causes ‘huge’ reduction in intelligence, study reveals

Friday, 31 Aug, 2018

Researchers at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) examined data from the national China Family Panel Studies longitudinal survey, mapping the cognitive test scores of almost 32,000 people over the age of 10 between 2010 and 2014 against their exposure to short- and long-term air pollution. For example, for men with only primary school education, exposure to air pollution was associated with a significantly greater decline in verbal skills from age 44, whereas for more highly educated men the effect appeared after 65. "The effect was more pronounced among men than women - and worst among the elderly". Long-term exposure to air pollution could compound and exacerbate the natural deterioration of cognitive function, which is vital for elderly people in both day-to-day life and also in making high-stakes decisions.

Ambient air pollution shortens an average Bangladeshi's life by 1.87 years, say scientists who suggest that better air quality could lead to a significant extension of human lifespan around the world, reports UNB.

The study also suggested that pollution could increase the risk of degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia.

The tests used to determine the findings were part of the China Family Panel Studies, which involved 20,000 people across the country between 2010 and 2014. They calculated 3.5 million people died globally from breathing PM2.5 in 1990 while 4.2 million were killed by the same type of air pollution in 2015.

The result of that action, if allowed to stand, will subject all United States citizens to higher levels of air pollution in the name of boosting profits for fossil fuel companies.

With this fact, the researchers hoped that their research findings on China - the largest developing country with severe air pollution - can shed light on the realities of air pollution in other developing countries.

Xin Zhang, Xi Chen, and Xiaobo Zhang - the researchers - aim to fill a gap in knowledge where air pollution and its effects to human health is concerned.

As those in their senior years make some of the most important financial decisions regarding retirement and pensions, Rebecca Daniels, from the United Kingdom public health charity Medact, said the results are "extremely worrying".

The authors point to the 98 percent of cities with more than 100,000 people in low and middle-income countries that fail to meet World Health Organization air quality guidelines.

Chen said there is no shortcut to solve this issue, "Governments really need to take concrete measures to reduce air pollution". A recent study showed that toxic air due to the "extremely high death" of people with mental disorders and increase mental illness among children.