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Planet Earth and Pollution

Shahrukh Is expert in writing about science,technology,health and issues related to our society.


Air pollution might not seem to be an immediate concern with the only issues being a cough and perhaps burning eyes. But what most of us fail to realize is that air pollution health effects range from losing your mental faculties to even increasing your chances of getting diabetes, one of the biggest killers in whole world.

From our mental faculties and the reproductive cycle to even hiking chances of diabetes, air pollution has a head-to-toe negative effect on human health.

How bad is air pollution?

We often ask ourselves - How bad is air pollution really?

Here, we have for you a list of air pollution health effects as per the official WHO website.

Ambient air pollution health effects:

  • In children and adults, both short- and long-term exposure to ambient air pollution can lead to reduced lung function, respiratory infections and aggravated asthma
  • Maternal exposure to ambient air pollution is associated with adverse birth outcomes, such as low birth weight, pre-term birth and small gestational age births
  • Emerging evidence also suggests ambient air pollution may affect diabetes and neurological development in children

Household air pollution health effects:

  • Exposure to indoor air pollutants can lead to a wide range of adverse health outcomes in both children and adults, from respiratory illnesses to cancer to eye problems

Members of households that rely on polluting fuels and devices also suffer a higher risk of burns, poisonings, musculoskeletal injuries and accidents.

Air pollution kills 600,000 children per year: WHO

A 2018 report by the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that breathing in toxic air kills about 600,000 children every year under the age of 15 years. That is how many children died from lower respiratory infections caused by air pollution in 2016 alone.

Data shows that every day, about 93 percent children under the age of 15, 1.8 billion youngsters, and 630 million children under the age of five breathe dangerously polluted air which is a full of pollutants.

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Air pollution may increase the risk of developing diabetes

As if air pollution's link to respiratory diseases was not enough to worry about, a 2018 study suggested that outdoor air pollution, even at deemed safe levels, increased the risk of diabetes globally.

Primarily diabetes has been associated with lifestyle choices like junk food diet and a sedentary lifestyle, but Washington University in USA said pollution also plays a major role.

Exposure to outdoor air pollution may increase the risk of intellectual in children

The UK's Millennium Cohort Study from 2018 for the first time quantified the extent to which children with intellectual disability (ID) may be exposed to outdoor air pollution, which furthers their risk to have poorer health and die earlier than they should.

Intellectual disability is an extremely common condition -- more than 10 million cases per year in India -- which was earlier called mental retardation. In simpler words, it is a case of below-average intelligence and set of life skills present in a person.

The findings come from an analysis of data from a sample of over 18,000 children born between 2000 and 2002.

Air pollution may lead to mental health issues in kids

Exposure to air pollution during early life may contribute to depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems in adolescence, suggested three new studies by the University of Cincinnati in the US.

A study, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, found that short-term exposure to ambient air pollution was associated with exacerbation of psychiatric disorders in children one to two days later.

A second study, published in the journal Environmental Research, found an association between recent high traffic-related air pollution (TRAP) exposure and higher generalized anxiety.

Another study, published in the journal Environmental Research, found that exposure to TRAP during early life and across childhood was significantly associated with self-reported depression and anxiety symptoms in 12-year-olds.

The report by the Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health blames pollution for an estimated 9 million premature deaths, about 15 times more than all wars and other forms of violence. It concludes that pollution "endangers the stability of the Earth's support systems and threatens the continuing survival of human societies."

More than 40 researchers from governments and universities worldwide worked on the study funded by the United Nations, the European Union and the United States. The Lancet is a weekly peer-reviewed general medical journal.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Shahrukh Irshad

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