Air Pollution May Affect Mental Intelligence

By Urenna Ukiwe |   29 August 2018   |   8:00 am  

In a country struggling with pollution and with almost non-existent laws or implementation of laws promoting environmental protection, the study carried out in China is most relevant to safeguard the safety of the future generation.

Studies carried out in China have shown evidence that long-term exposure to air pollution is related to cognitive performance.


This research is relevant not only in China but globally with more than 80% of the world’s urban population living in unsafe polluted environment. They believe that the negative effect progresses with age and affects men with little education more.

However, while trying to determine the link between pollution and lower test scores, the study did not prove cause and effect.

According to BBC, the study which included researchers from Beijing’s Peking University and Yale University in the US-was based on measurements of Sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and particulates smaller than 10 micrometres in diameter where participants lived. It is unclear the particular pollutant is to blame amongst the three mentioned.

Carbon monoxide, ozone and larger particulates were excluded in the study.
Air pollution is described as a silent killer and according to the World Health Organisation have caused an estimated seven million premature deaths.

The study suggests that pollution also heightens the chances of degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia occurring.

According to air pollution stats around the world, provided by WHO

• About seven million people die every year from exposure to polluted air
• Air pollution 4.2 million deaths globally in 2016
• 91% of the world’s population lives in places where air quality exceeds WHO guideline limits
• Nine out of 10 people in the world breathe polluted air
• 14 Indian cities are among the world’s 20 most polluted cities


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