New Studies Shows Air Pollution Linked to Childhood Brain Development and Depression



Everyone is well aware of many of the negative effects of air pollution, but it might be far worse than anyone could have ever imagined.

According to CNN Health, air pollution is now putting millions of infants at risk of severe brain damage.

Thanks to a new report by The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), scientists are now hard at work to try and find ways to address the global air pollution issue. The report details that nearly 17 million infants worldwide are currently breathing in toxic air, potentially causing serious brain development issues.

About two-thirds of the affected infants (nearly 12 million) live in South Asia and are exposed to pollution six times higher than the global recommended limits.

“The brains of babies and young children are constructed by a complex interplay of rapid neural connections that begin before birth,” said Pia Rebello Britto, chief of early childhood development at the UNICEF. “These neural connections shape a child’s optimal thinking, learning, health, memory, linguistic and motor skills.”

Although air pollution’s impact on child brain development is now at the top of the list of concerns, additional studies have found that depression is often linked with poor air quality as well.

Scientists in China, alongside researchers from the International Food Policy Research Institute, Peking University, Yale University and Beijing Normal University have inked air pollution to an increase in depressive symptoms and overall wellbeing.

The research team measured air quality using air pollution index based on sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and fine particulate matter smaller than 10 micrometers in dust form. Dust exposure has been shown to impact workers’ cognitive skills by up to 6%.

“The numbers are very concerning for public health,” added Rachel B. Smith or the School of Public Health in London.

Global scientists and researchers will continue to study the environment and effects pollution has on depression, child brain development, and any other medical issues.

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