Air pollution can effect physical health, however, a recent study in China by researchers at Yale School of Public Health, USA, has revealed that it has far deeper impacts including a significant reduction in person’s intelligence.
The study, performed on about 20,000 people across the country from 2010-14, was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Researchers believe that breathing in polluted air can cause reduction in person’s intelligence. The test results were measured against the air toxicity levels to understand how it affects male and female differently.
The impact becomes more severe for the men, the elderly and those who are less educated; it accounts for a few years of education losses. The research has revealed that the cognitive performance of students worsens with air pollution, however, this is the first study to include people, both men and women.
Researcher Xi Chen stressed that it is not just a correlation rather air pollution is a major cause of intelligence loss too. The study accounted for several other factors such as genetic differences and a gradual decline in cognitive abilities. Pollution also has a short-term impact .
Earlier studies have shown different aspects of air pollution, for instance, more likelihood of dementia in those living near busy roads, and high mortality rates for mental disorder patients and premature deaths. However, reduction in mental abilities is not a known impact of air pollution.
The researchers claim that the results are applicable across the world and that the loss would be incremental. 1 mg of increase in air pollution in three years would mean an education loss of about 1 month. He also revealed that the smaller particles in the surroundings are more damaging and that the governments need to root out air pollution as there is no other solution to this problem.