Air Pollution Is Making Us Dumber

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Most everyone knows that air pollution can cause physical ailments, particularly those associated with the lungs, but new evidence suggests it can also cause mental harm.

It's always been established that breathing polluted air can have negative effects on our physical wellbeing-such as lung and heart diseases, cancer, even death-but it can also have consequences on our mental health.

"If the air pollution improves from China's level to the American EPA standard level, that means that would improve everyone's education by around one year", Chen said, referring to an annual EPA standard measurement for particulate matter that was used until 2006.

The study also suggested that pollution could increase the risk of degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia.

Air pollution is known as the "invisible killer" and the World Health Organisation says it is behind an estimated seven million premature deaths each year across the world by contributing to heart attacks and strokes.

The damage was far more significant in older people, as the study found that people aged 64 and above could suffer serious consequences when exposed to unsafe air. The new Yale study seeks to highlight the indirect effect of pollution on social welfare.

In looking at their results the researchers report finding that the higher the levels of pollution the lower the test scores as people grew older.

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Air pollution from these farms includes 400 different harmful gases - ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, nitrous oxide, endotoxins, and particulate matter (like dander), just to name a few.

In the research done recently, it was for the first time that data on air pollution and lifespan was studied together to examine the global variations and find out how they affect the overall life expectancy.

The researchers came to the conclusions by comparing the results of 32,000 Chinese men and women who sat the China Family Panel Studies survey in 2010 and 2014.

"The damage air pollution has on aging brains likely imposes substantial health and economic cost, considering that cognitive functioning is critical for the elderly to both running daily errands and making high-stakes economic decisions", Xiaobo Zhang, a co-author, said, CNN reported. For subsample with more education, men 65 years and above were impacted.

China's largest cities are among the world's most polluted based on air quality.

As per the World Health Organization (WHO), the top 20 most polluted cities are all in developing countries, with over a 100,000 residents failing to meet WHO air quality guidelines.

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