Effects Of Air Pollution On Human Body – TL; DR- This blog takes a deep dive into the many effects air pollution has on human health, exploring how poor air quality affects every area of the human body – from head to toe. Research shows that air pollution is a major environmental risk factor for deadly diseases, from Alzheimer’s disease to lung cancer to osteoporosis, and can reduce lifespan and quality of life. Air pollution accounts for significant damages to public health, as well as extensive economic losses due to health costs and lost school and work days. While air pollution exposure can affect everyone, its damage is not distributed equally. Children, elderly people, those with pre-existing conditions, and those living in low-economic areas or environmental justice areas are the disproportionate burden of its effects – emphasizing the need to protect the population that has harm by taking better care of our air quality.
We know that air pollution is responsible for approximately 7 million premature deaths per year, but what do the effects of air pollution look like on an individual health level?
- 1 Effects Of Air Pollution On Human Body
- 2 Impact Of Air Pollution On Human Health
- 3 Health Effects Of Air Pollution On Human Body, Short And Long Term Effects And Diseases; Vector Infographic With Icons Stock Vector Image & Art
- 4 Air Pollution Effects
Effects Of Air Pollution On Human Body
Air pollution is a major environmental driver associated with many diseases, including respiratory conditions such as asthma and lung cancer; neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease; various psychological conditions; and a slew of other consequences, including fetal growth retardation, autism, retinopathy, and low birth weight.
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With thousands of air pollution-related health consequences, many studies have looked to quantify the effects air pollution has on the public – a methodology employed by the USEPA is provided as an example below.
Research by the USEPA found that certain health conditions, such as the respiratory effects of air pollution exposure, can be directly linked to their economic consequences, such as costs associated with doctor visits, missed school and days of work, hospital visits, and, finally, death. Such research helps provide a rubric by which to estimate the magnitude of human health damage resulting from air pollution, in terms of the actual costs suffered by society and the economy at large. (image source: USEPA)
Projections looking at how these prices are projected to change over time appear grim. Research from the OECD’s Economic Consequences of Air Pollution project found that by 2060, global economic output will decrease by approximately $330 USD per person, with $155 billion increases in annual health costs and 2.5 billion more lost working days at the global level.
On a global economic level, the project estimates that the following economic impacts of air pollution – including reduced labor productivity, increased health costs, and reduced agricultural crop yields lost – will be 1% of global GDP by 2060.
How Air Pollution Affects The Central Nervous System Over Time
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) conducted a study looking at how health, economic, and productivity-related outcomes of air pollution exposure may change from 2010 to 2060. Major improvements in respiratory outcomes, Health costs, lost work days, and restricted work days suggest that air pollution will have a major impact on health and global health if steps are not taken to improve air quality. (image source: OECD)
While it is common knowledge that air pollution damages the lungs, research is constantly showing how it actually affects every organ system in the human body. Air pollution particles can be small enough to enter the bloodstream, and from there they cause systemic inflammation and destructive effects on our body’s functions. The information below provides an overview of how different parts of the body are affected by air pollution.
In general, severe damage caused by air pollution is thought to be the result of systemic inflammation. Given the importance of having all of our bodies function properly for optimal human health, we thought we would look at how each of these body parts is negatively affected by air pollution.
Air pollution is linked to many eye problems, including asymptomatic eye problems and dry eye syndrome. Research on this connection suggests that air pollution can irritate the eyes through the glow of car exhaust.
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The eyes are a sensitive organ with a high level of blood circulation, making them sensitive to damage caused by air pollution, even small components of fine materials that can spread throughout the body after inhalation.
A large UK-based study found that even small increases in air pollution are associated with age-related macular degeneration, which causes irreversible vision loss. Even increases in essential substances on the order of 1 μg/m3 have been linked to an 8% increase in risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Although the historical air pollution link to respiratory health has been well studied, increasing amounts of research regarding the link between poor air quality and neurological and cognitive health outcomes have been released over the years. recent. Research suggests that cognitive decline, dementia, anxiety, depression, ADHD, and schizophrenia all occur with greater frequency with exposure to various air pollutants.
Specific pollutants, such as lead, have also been studied for their connection to learning disabilities, memory impairment, activity, and behavioral disorders in children. Children’s brain development can also be affected by exposure to high levels of ambient air pollution while they are in the womb because the brain is still developing at this time and air pollution can cause permanent brain damage. Even in utero, high air pollution exposure can also lead to cognitive impairment in old age.
Impact Of Air Pollution On Human Health
A study examining air pollution is one of the causes of brain disease. The same study found short-term exposure to sulfur dioxide and PM10 was also associated with an increased risk of stroke.
A study from USC has examined the link between air pollution and dementia – this study of more than 2,000 elderly women over the age of 10 suggests that it is not only air pollution exposure that contributes to a higher risk of dementia, but poor air quality can also slow it down. this accelerates the aging of the brain.
Lowering air pollution to roughly 15 percent below the current EPA threshold leads to a 20 percent reduction in dementia risk.” – Jiu-Chiuan Chen, researcher at USC
Another recent study presented at the 2021 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference found similar results. Reducing PM2.5 and NO2 pollution by 10% of the current USEPA standard over 10 years was linked to a 14% and 26% reduction in the risk of dementia in older women in the United States — including when the results were controlled for age, program- education, community, and the presence of cardiovascular disease.
Health Effects Of Air Pollution On Human Body, Short And Long Term Effects And Diseases; Vector Infographic With Icons Stock Vector Image & Art
While the exact mechanisms behind this link between air pollution and dementia are not fully understood, recent research looking at beta-amyloid levels in the blood suggests a potential biological link between air pollution and dementia. Alzheimer’s-related changes to the brain.
A video from Harvard University explains how inflammation caused by positive related substances can lead to neurological and cognitive effects.
The link between air pollution and respiratory health is perhaps best understood. Many negative health effects can be found in the respiratory system because it acts as the first line of defense against airborne pollutants that are inhaled into the body.
The size of the particles that are part of it affects how harmful the pollutant exposure is to respiratory health. Particulate matter is generally divided into PM10 and PM2.5 — the latter of which contains finer particles that can penetrate deep into the lungs and body. Small particles can reach the lower respiratory tract and thus can cause lung and heart disease with greater probability.
Air Pollution May Affect Human Health Via Bacteria Changes In Respiratory Tract
In addition to the illness caused by PM exposure – characterized by symptoms such as coughing, dry mouth, and wheezing – research also shows that the substances can cause premature death in those with heart disease. or pre-existing lung conditions.
Research shows a clear link between air pollution exposure and worsening cardiovascular health. Several studies have found the following relationships:
A 2016 study also noted that exposure to particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide at levels close to those stated by the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) have been linked to aging blood vessels, causing the production calcium in the coronary arteries, suggesting that this may be the mechanism by which air pollution seriously damages cardiovascular health.
Studies have found an association between air pollution exposure and the death of gastrointestinal diseases, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), appendicitis, and gastrointestinal infections in infants.
Air Pollution Effects
Animal studies aimed at examining the link between air pollution and damage to the digestive system found that inhaled material pollution can alter the composition of the microbiome within the body. A 2020 study that confirmed this link in humans found that ozone pollution may play an important role in this process.
Long-term exposure to high levels of air pollution has been linked to metabolic-related fatty liver disease (MAFLD) in animal studies, suggesting adverse effects in humans. This disease affects a quarter of the world’s population and has increased in incidence steadily since the 1980s. MAFLD can progress to liver diseases such as liver cancer and cirrhosis, posing a serious threat to human health.
Research estimates that in 2016, air pollution contributed to 3.2 million new cases of diabetes worldwide and
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