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3 Surprising Effects Air Pollution Has on Your Body

The air pollution crisis is ongoing, and with more than 92% of the world’s population living in areas that exceed the levels deemed safe by the World Health Organization (WHO), the issue is a global one. 

While it’s common knowledge that poor air quality is damaging for both humans and the environment (and often the cause of potentially fatal conditions such as lung disease, heart disease and strokes), the same culprit is sometimes responsible for other, lesser-known health and behavioural problems.

Here, we reveal the unexpected medical issues that can occur as a result of polluted air.

Bad behaviour

Is your teen acting up more than usual? Do you live in an urban area that’s known for poor air quality? It’s entirely possible that the young adults in your house are showing bad behaviour as a result of worsening air quality. No, really.

A study featured in The Times found that unhealthy air causes bad behaviour in children and teens. Researchers have reported that young people residing in areas of poorer air quality would start to show signs of bad behaviour upon reaching adolescence. 

Irregular periods

Recent findings have indicated that air pollution can wreak havoc with female hormones, and thus cause irregular menstrual cycles – in teenage girls aged 14 to 18 especially. A new study has indicated that teen girls exposed to contaminated air will have a higher chance of menstrual irregularity, and will likely have a long wait to achieve a more stable cycle.

Author of the study, Shruthi Mahalingaiah, explained the research in more details in a story published by Science Daily. “While air pollution exposures have been linked to cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases, this study suggests there may be other systems, such as the reproductive endocrine system, that are affected as well,” she revealed.

Poor mental health

The impact of air pollution on the human body is also evident when it comes to mental health. A recent study carried out in Hong Kong had some shocking findings – poor air doesn’t just make those with mental health issues worse, but actually increases their risk of mortality.

Having analysed 10 years’ worth of data, researchers noted a strong link between smog and mortality in a story featured in The Guardian. The risk of death rose by 16% on the first day of haze, and on the 27% on the second day in comparison with normal days. In addition to this, on days when ozone pollution was present alongside the smog, the risk of death shot up by a staggering 79%.

Image courtesy of Daria Nepriakhina, Unsplash

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