Can Air Pollution Cause Mental Health Issues?

Air pollution, along with other factors, can cause or exacerbate mental health problems

Air pollution can cause irreversible damage to our bodies. Studies have long shown its effect on lungs, cardiovascular health, overall health, and many other factors. However, more studies have shown that prolonged exposure to poor air quality may even affect our mental health.

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The largest study of its kind has found a link between exposure to air pollution and increased severity of mental illness. The study, which included 13,000 adults in London, discovered that even a modest increase in nitrogen dioxide exposure increased the likelihood of needing community care by 32% and hospitalization by 18%.

The research conclusions are probably applicable to the majority of cities in developed countries, and reducing air pollution could help millions of people. It is possible to reduce population exposure to large-scale air pollution.

We recognize that some measures, such as the expansion of low-emission zones, are possible. Interventions at the individual level of mental health are actually somewhat challenging. Bearing in mind that the air quality index in India is also much worse than in London.

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According to some research, even fleeting exposure to air pollution may increase the likelihood of developing mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and depression, with damage occurring early in childhood. According to WHO estimates, more than 90% of children worldwide breathe air polluted at levels that are harmful to their health and development.

Because children’s brains and behavior are still developing into their late teens and early adulthood, air pollution, especially PM2.5, may have a disproportionately negative impact on their mental and emotional development, as well as on cognitive and behavioral outcomes.

Based on one theory that links PM2.5 to early childhood mental health problems, severe mental health symptoms from exposure to air pollution are bad enough to send children to the emergency room for psychiatric treatment.

With these things in mind, it is essential to take the necessary steps to reduce the negative impact of air pollution as much as possible. Here are some ways you can reduce the effects of air pollution on your mental health:

  • Find local forecasts for daily air pollution. You can tell when the air quality in your area is unhealthy with color-coded forecasts.
  • Always stay away from crowded places while exercising. High levels of pollution can be produced by traffic on busy roads even when air quality forecasts are green.
  • Pay attention to the air quality in your home as it can also be harmful to your health. Particulate matter and ozone are two examples of outdoor pollutants that may enter your home.
  • The first step in keeping smoky air out of your home is to keep the windows closed. Nomination and deliberation will come next. Use fans to move the air around your home and, if possible, use filters to get rid of any airborne debris.
  • Protection from smoke is often not provided by cloth masks. You should wear an N95 mask to filter out small particles while providing protection from smoke. Cloth masks generally allow fine particles to pass through.
  • Removing airborne particles can benefit air purifiers. You can purchase air purifiers that have undergone more extensive testing to remove specific particle sizes.
  • Ensure that no one is allowed to smoke indoors and encourage initiatives to make all public spaces smoke-free.

Keep these things in mind to ensure better physical and mental health.

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Disclaimer: This content including tips provides general information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.

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