According to a recent report in the BMJ, an increasing numbers of studies support the view that poor air quality can have adverse effects on the brain, from poorer cognitive development in children to accelerated development of cognitive decline in adults.
“The U.S. is experiencing a slowdown in its efforts to clean up the unhealthy air after decades of progress,” says Helen Worden, Ph.D., a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. In a study in the journal Lancet Planetary Health found evidence of a link between regularly inhaling tiny pollutant particles and poor bone health and fractures.
They found that the more polluted the air was in a particular ZIP code, the greater the number of hospital admissions for broken bones and losing more bone density over time. Other recent studies have connected long-term air pollution exposure to psychological distress, poorer sperm quality in men, and a small increase in the risk of birth defects.
So how can you reduce your exposure:
Filter your air at home. Air purifiers and live plants can help keep the air in your home clean and fresh.
Avoid particle pollution. If you exercise outside try to avoid heavily trafficked roads where automobile-generated pollution could be significant. You can also check this EPA website and consider limiting outdoor activity when the air quality index is 101 or higher.
Make yourself less vulnerable. Because the health effects of air pollution can be exacerbated by your baseline health, take smart lifestyle steps. Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol under control, improve your diet, and exercise every day.
Reduce your pollution footprint. Help your fellow humans by reducing your footprint. Consider alternate ways of getting around...walk, bike, and share transportation when you can.
Happy breathing :)
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