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How Does Air Pollution Impact Mental Health?

Mental illnesses have been recognized for thousands of years, and they have been backed by constant research over the last few centuries. However, there has been a sudden increase in mental health cases in the past decade. There has been an 18% increase in cases, about 54 million people added to the already existing group of people battling mental health disorders.

This number is concerning. Although there are many factors at play, researchers have concluded that air pollution and poor indoor air quality might be impacting cognition and brain response in both adults and children.

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In this article, we will not only advise you on installing a high-quality, powerful air purifier, but we will also lay out the latest research backing this claim.

Note: The information mentioned below isn’t medical advice. If you or anyone you know is showing symptoms of mental illness, seek professional medical advice and help.

Air Pollution affects the mental health of children

90% of children all around the world are exposed to polluted air. This puts them at risk of mental health issues later in their life. Since their brains are still developing, polluted air can cause major damage in the long run.

Image 2-2So, there has been a supportive link between exposure to PM 2.5 and mental health issues in children. Here are a few research studies that support this claim.

  • A review article published in Psychopharmacology in 2016 studied the correlation between exposure to air pollution and mental health issues in children. They concluded that excess exposure to polluted air could cause inflammation in the microglia. This inflammation caused by polluted air combined with daily stressors of growth can increase the chances of mental health issues later in life.
  • A study published in Environmental Health Perspectives in 2019 studied the correlation between exposure to PM2.5 and mental health issues in children. The study included observing 6,800 children up to the age of 18 years in emergency care at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. They were studied for any symptoms of psychiatric importance. The study concluded that exposure to PM2.5 can increase the risk of such issues in children. Short-term exposure to PM2.5 of 10 microns per cubic meter can bring children to the hospital for mental health issues. This also increases inflammation in the brain to add to the existing stressors.
  • The link was validated in a 2020 study. The study was conducted on 83,985 ER visits made for over a decade (2004 to 2015) in Toronto, Canada. This included people between 8 years to 24 years. The study found that slow and constant exposure to PM2.5, ozone, and nitrogen dioxide can land people of this age group in the hospital even for more than 5 days.

More such studies have been conducted to support this claim. Hence, several scientists, researchers, and medical professionals warn about keeping symptoms of mental illness in check. The more they go unnoticed and untreated, the more they can result in serious mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia in later life. Hence, it is advised to install air purifiers in your home and office to ensure the indoor air is clean and that exposure to pollutants is minimized.

Air Pollution affects the mental health of adults

Image 1-1Just like children are at risk of mental health issues due to prolonged exposure to air pollutants, so are adults. There have been several studies that support this claim and warn that the condition may worsen if steps aren’t taken.

Here are two studies that have given concrete conclusions on the effects of air pollutants on the mental health of adults.

  • A study published in Molecular Psychiatry in 2011 included studying the exposure to air pollutants such as PM2.5 in mice. The scientists exposed a group of mice to PM2.5 for 8 hours a day, 5 times a week. This was done for 10 months. This time frame mimics the similar condition a human exposed to who lives in pollution-free suburbs in the US and travels to polluted urban areas for work.

The study found that exposure to PM2.5 affected the learning ability of mice. They weren’t able to learn new tasks, such as figuring out their way out of a new maze. It was also observed that several mice showed signs of depression, such as giving up things they were first interested in doing. Moreover, researchers found that such exposure to PM2.5 also increased the amount of cytokines in the mice's brains. Cytokines are responsible for inflammation and for increasing the risk of mental health symptoms.

  • Another study published in PLOS Biology in 2019 analyzed the mental health data of about 151 million people in the US and 1.4 million people from Denmark. The study was focused on studying the occurrence of four major mental health disorders, namely, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and personality disorders.

The study found a 17% increase in bipolar disorder when exposed to PM2.5. It also found an increase of 6% in major depressive disorder and a 20% increase in personality disorder diagnosis.

These studies give an alarming conclusion for the mental health of children and adults. Although there are different factors that can affect the mental health of people around the world, we certainly can’t neglect the effects of polluted air.

Medify air purifierHence, installing air purifiers with HEPA air filters, activated charcoal filters, and more advanced technology will be the best decision to reduce your exposure to polluted air. At Medify Air, we provide the widest range of air purifiers manufactured using the latest technology to give you the best results.

We provide air purifiers for homes, offices, restaurants, educational institutes, and more. Each air purifier comes with HEPA filters, activated charcoal filters, and more advanced features. Our purifiers are powerful yet quiet, making them a peaceful option for your home or office space.

Keep your indoor air clean and stay healthy with us at Medify Air. Contact us now to learn more.




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