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Video: Air Pollution Increases The Risk Of Depression And Suicide
Air pollution increases the risk of depression and suicide
People who live in areas with high levels of air pollution are at greater risk of developing depression and committing suicide. This is evidenced by a systematic review of data collected in 16 countries on different continents.
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People who live in areas with high levels of air pollution are at greater risk of developing depression and committing suicide. This is evidenced by a systematic review of data collected in 16 countries on different continents, published in Environmental Health Perspectives.
“We have shown that air pollution can cause significant harm to our mental health. This sets a precedent that requires faster purification of the air we breathe,”Isobel Braithwaite of University College London told the Guardian.
She added that 15% of cases of depression can be prevented if air pollution is reduced to standards set in the EU. Braithwaite clarified that this calculation will be correct if it is assumed that air pollution is the causative factor of depression.
Small particles from polluted air can reach the brain. Scientists told the Guardian that it was previously known that they can contribute to the development of inflammation in the brain, damage to nerve cells and altered the production of stress hormones, which are also associated with mental health problems.
Scientists analyzed all the high-quality scientific data that were published up to 2017 in 16 countries. They found a strong link between toxic air, depression and suicide. The air pollutants that the researchers focused on come from the combustion of fossil fuels, which are used in cars, homes and industries.
Separately, the authors reviewed new research on the relationship of depression to particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5). Increasing their concentration by 10 micrograms per cubic meter during the year increases the risk of depression in humans by 10%. For comparison, in Delhi the concentration of these particles is 114 micrograms per cubic meter, in Ottawa - 6.
Scientists estimate that if pollution levels in UK cities are reduced from 13 micrograms per cubic meter to the WHO recommended 10 micrograms per cubic meter, the prevalence of depression will decrease by 2.5%.
Suicide has been reported to be associated with air pollution by particles smaller than 10 micrometers (PM10). The risk of suicide increased by 2% with an increase in the concentration of these particles by 10 micrograms per cubic meter for three days.
Scientists draw attention to the fact that even a slight deterioration in air quality has severe consequences for the health of many people, since 90% of the world's population lives in conditions of pollution that exceeds WHO standards.
Although there is a strong link between air pollution and depression, a causal relationship is difficult to establish. This would require experiments with the deliberate exposure of humans to a harmful factor. This is contrary to modern medical research ethics.