The statistics on air pollution are often staggering. 8 million premature deaths every year. And a reduction in life span of up to 2 years. However, there are many millions of people that don’t show up in this type of study. The study based on mortality rates and lifespan. But nonetheless, air pollution still has a huge impact on their quality of life and overall health.
A recent study from China has linked air pollution to a feeling of sadness. On days when air pollution is bad, people generally tend to feel more melancholy.
Pollution has also been linked to feelings of anxiety and depression. According to a study from Canada, depression, particularly for women, increases on days when Nitrogen Dioxide, from car emissions is high. And high levels of anxiety have been reported on days when levels of PM2.5 are elevated. In another study from Sweden, children were more likely to use psychiatric medication when exposed to high levels of PM 2.5 and Nitrogen Dioxide.
Poor air quality has also been linked to disrupted sleep. Sleep is vital, as important to us as food and water. And when we don’t get enough, our health suffers. Sleep deficiency can increase our risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, strokes and obesity.
More and more we are realizing the effects of air pollution reach far beyond respiratory and heart disease. Outcomes may be more subtle and difficult to measure but nonetheless the damage to our overall health and wellbeing is significant.