It is well documented that exposure to air pollution can damage the brain as well as affect our respiratory health. In recent years UNICEF gathered data to show how air pollution is affecting brain development in babies and young children. Their report confirms that exposure to air pollution has a significant and damaging effect on brain development from the time a child is in the womb, right up until they reach adulthood.
Another study published just this week, takes this theory one stage further, as it suggests pollution from vehicles and industry may be affecting our cognitive function throughout our entire lives. The study from China took place over 4 years and involved 20,000 people of all ages. The main focus was on how long term exposure to air pollution can affect our intelligence.
The team found that older men, particularly those who were less educated, were the most vulnerable group studied. Verbal skills were most affected but also arithmetic and a person’s ability to carry out simple math declined the more they were exposed to dirty air. The team described the effects to be like losing one year of schooling.
China is renowned for having a major problem with air pollution but dirty air is not unique to just China. Right across the world, we are all exposed to unsafe levels of air pollution on a regular basis. We are all at risk of an aging brain and reduced cognitive function as a direct result of the polluted air we breathe.
For more on this study, click here.