Air Pollution and Health

There are two new studies linking air pollution with major children and adult health issues.

  1. A study in focused on Mexico City reports a link between air toxins and the incidence of Alzheimer’s Disease.
  2. A review of 205 studies by the researchers at the Columbia University School of Public Health, looking at fuel combustion by-products including particulate matter (PM2.5), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), and nitrogen dioxide (NO2).

The Mexico City study confirms findings of previously published research:

Jung et al., 2015 found a 138% risk of increase of AD per increase of 4.34 μg/m3 in PM 2.5 suggesting long-term exposure to PM 2.5, as well as ozone above the current US EPA standards are associated with increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. In the USA alone, 200 million people live in areas where pollutants such as ozone and fine particulate matter exceed the standards. (1, emphasis added)

The authors point out that the World Health Organization estimates that 50% of the health issues caused by air pollution are borne by children between newborns and age 5.(2)

Part of the reason that health costs are rising is that we insist on treating problems after they occur rather than preventing them. We have to move away from the belief that health problems are something inflicted by a deity or fate to the more accurate view that health problems are something we as humans inflict on ourselves, collectively and individually.

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Sources:

  1. “Air pollution in Mexico City associated with development of Alzheimer disease,” Medical Express, 21 December 2018. https://medicalxpress.com/news/2018-12-air-pollution-mexico-city-alzheimer.html
  2. F. Perera, A. Ashrafi, P. Kinney, D. Mills. Towards a Fuller Assessment of Benefits to Children’s Health of Reducing Air Pollution and Mitigating Climate Change Due to Fossil Fuel Combustion. Environmental Research, 2018; DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2018.12.016

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