Air Pollution Linked to Increased Risk of Depression and Suicideadmin
The damage air pollution can cause isn’t just physical according to a team of researchers from University College London (UCL) and King’s College London. After examining data from 16 countries, the researchers identified a link between air pollution and five mental health outcomes: depression, anxiety, bipolar, psychosis, and suicide, according to IFLScience.com.
“We already know that air pollution is bad for people’s health, with numerous physical health risks ranging from heart and lung disease to stroke and a higher risk of dementia,” the study’s lead author Dr. Isobel Braithwaite said. “Here we’re showing that air pollution could be causing substantial harm to our mental health as well, making the case for cleaning up the air we breathe even more urgent.”
The findings, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, show that increased exposure to fine particulate matter over long periods could increase an individual’s chances of developing depression by 10 percent. The researchers also identified a possible link between long-term exposure and the risk of anxiety. In addition, short term exposure to coarse particulate matter, or larger particles of pollution like dust and smoke, impact suicide risk.
“Our findings correspond with other studies that have come out this year, with further evidence in young people and in other mental health conditions,” senior author Dr. Joseph Hayes said. “While we cannot yet say that this relationship is causal, the evidence is highly suggestive that air pollution itself increases the risk of adverse mental health outcomes.”