Air pollution can have a “huge” negative effect on cognitive intelligence, according to a study released by the United Nations Environment Programme
The research is one of the first of its kind to focus on the links between air pollution and cognition in older people. It was done by scientists at Peking and Yale Universities, and published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In particular, it found that long-term exposure to air pollution may worsen cognitive performance (intelligence). In other words, air pollution is making you dumber.
The researchers’ sample set included over 25,000 people across 162 randomly chosen counties in China. It included daily readings of three atmospheric pollutants: sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter smaller than 10 micrometers (PM10).
The research found that cumulative exposure to air pollution worsen cognitive performance in both verbal and math tests. It found that as people age, the negative effect becomes particularly pronounced, especially for men. Those chronically exposed to air pollution through working outdoor, manual jobs were logically even more affected.
The findings of this research is particularly worrisome for the elderly, as they are already in danger of cognitive problems, such as mild memory loss and attention difficulty. Dementia is the fear of many senior citizens, and air pollution may be a contributing factor for developing this devastating disorder.
Watch this informative video on how air pollution impacts your body in more ways than you may think:
How can you protect yourself against air pollution?
There are several ways you can protect yourself against air pollution. Avoid exercising outside at rush hour, or when air pollution levels are high. Use an air purifier in your home, in particular in rooms where you spend a lot of time. And wear a quality face filtering mask when you go outside. STYLE SEAL has face masks for men, women and children, in many styles and sizes. See our collection of face masks here