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Global Study Links Air Pollution to Depression and Suicide

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

depression and suicide linked to air pollution

Story at-a-glance -

  • Researchers analyzed data from 16 countries and found a link between PM2.5 air pollution and depression, and another between PM10 and suicide
  • Lowering pollution limits may have a profound effect on health conditions including obesity, cancer, heart disease and premature death
  • Data from China showed exposure to PM2.5 reduced learners’ abilities in math and language at a rate that is equivalent to losing one year of education. The effect may be associated with oxidative stress, neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration
  • Consider limiting outdoor exercise during peak commuting hours, limit outdoor time when the air quality index is poor and consider strategies to reduce exposure to indoor pollution as well

When most people think about the risks associated with air pollution, respiratory issues are the first that come to mind. In fact, in 2016 outdoor and inside air pollution contributed to respiratory infections resulting in 543,000 deaths in children under 5. However, the respiratory system is not the only one affected by this.

The World Health Organization reported on published studies from dozens of top experts, which revealed some of the health risks for children that are associated with air pollution. These included obesity, asthma, childhood cancers, infant mortality and adverse birth outcomes. Evidence also suggests exposure before birth increases the risk of cardiovascular and lung disease later in life.

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