Polluted air has been related to a variety of health problems, including decreased lung function and the development of cancers of the chest and lungs. Researchers have just discovered a new harmful side effect of air pollution: cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.
Harvard Chan School of Public Health researchers reviewed 14 previous studies and found that exposure to high levels of pollution in the form of “fine particulate matter” was consistently linked to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Those who breathed in air pollution levels lower than the federal limit set by the EPA were nonetheless at a higher risk.
Dirt, dust, soot, and smoke are examples of particle pollution produced by vehicles, coal fires, industries, and construction sites. The smallest particles of air pollution, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “can get into the deep parts of your lungs — or even into your blood.”
Current EPA guidelines state that fine particle pollution in the air must be kept to a maximum of 12 micrograms per cubic meter. However, the government has lately recommended lowering that level to 10 micrograms per cubic meter to improve air quality in the United States.
Fine particulate matter at ten micrograms per cubic meter would still offer all the same health concerns as higher concentrations but at a somewhat reduced pace. ‘The lower you can go, the smaller the risk is,’ Professor Weisskopf added.
Professor Weisskopf argued that while scientists are trying to come up with ingenious new ways to clean our air, the most immediate and effective answer likely lies in even stricter regulations governing how much air pollution companies are legally allowed to create.
According to dementia research, the consequences of failing to do so might be severe.
Any solution would be better than mandating that people wear masks.