According to a new study, kids exposed to air pollution have a higher chance of getting mental illness in the stages of early adulthood. In recent research, it was found that children in Britain who were in contact with higher levels of air pollutants during their childhood had a higher chance of getting symptoms related to mental health in the later stages of life.
Study: Link Between Air Pollution And Mental Illness
The authors reported that nitrogen oxide was a common problem seen among the children studied. Aaron Reuben, a doctoral student at the Psychology Department at Duke University, claimed that air pollution in the early stages of life is considered a non-specific factor for the illness, which is basically seen in adulthood. He later clarified that he does not claim that air pollution can cause mental illness but just suggested that there may be a link between these two.
The effects which were identified in the studies were not convincing to prove the link between mental illness and air pollution, but due to a large number of people being exposed to air pollution all around the world, there may be some kind of link between the two. He noted that a higher rate of mental illness was seen in people of age 18. The study was done in urban areas, but he said that the pollution level of all areas is very much similar to many other economically developed countries, so this study can easily be generalized. For the case study, he took the data of over two thousand twins born across the country which include rural and urban areas.
The participants were followed from their childhood to adulthood. The researchers then studied the exposure of different types of air pollutants like Nitrogen Oxides and fine matters suspended in the air. This study found that around twenty-two percent of people were exposed to nitrogen oxides and eighty-four percent to tiny suspended particles, which is more than the bar set by the World Health Organization.
The investigators studied teens of age 18 and looked for the symptoms on which they are dependent, as the addiction of alcohol, hyperactivity disorder, traumas, eating disorder and other symptoms related to mental health. These were the necessary credentials required to calculate the p-factor. Higher the p-factor, worse is the condition of the mental health.
The effect of air pollution is seen in all types of mental illness. The researchers also looked at the surroundings and child’s neighbourhood in order to identify the conditions which lead to higher pollution that lead to mental illness. These may include poverty, social surroundings etc. Reuben said that scientists knew from the research that air pollution involves toxic substances which even impair your brain.
In some cases, air pollutants reach the brain through the passage of the nose, and they can even damage the immune system. The consequences may include brain tumors, neuron proliferation disruptions, neural deaths and a wide variety of illness which can be very harmful and may lead to death.