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Exposure to Bad Air Will Leave You Prone to Depression and Anxiety

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By Jaden Francis - - 5 Mins Read
For many years, many thought the effects of air pollution mainly affect the lungs and other body organs. While this may be true, new research shows that bad air can lead to depression and anxiety among humans.    Air pollution mostly comes from heavy industries, cars, trains, and other things that release dangerous odors or gas into the atmosphere. Both past and present, death rates are mostly higher where there's bad air. For instance, when a refinery is near a settlement, those living around it have a higher chance of having a high death rate.    The new study was conducted with close to four hundred thousand people as participants. After the study was conducted, the results were released to the public on the 1st of February this year.    Marc Weisskopf, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, has also contributed to the discussion, saying that there is evidence that bad air is a factor among the causes of depression and anxiety. Although Marc Weisskopf wasn't among the authors of the new research, he has conducted research similar to this one. 

Content of the New Study 

Jama Psychiatric published a new study, and its content proves that air pollution is also a cause of depression and anxiety. Although bad air intake symptoms are mostly lung and heart issues, it has been found that mental issues are also included.    Part of the study read, "In this cohort study of 389 185 participants, estimated joint exposure to multiple air pollutants was associated with increased risk of depression and anxiety, and the exposure-response curves were nonlinear." Females made up a large chunk of the participants of this new study, with a percentage of 52.9%, while males only made up about 47.1% of the participants.    According to those who carried out this research, men were more susceptible to contracting depression and anxiety from bad air than females. "Subgroup analysis showed that the association between PM2.5 and risk of anxiety tended to be higher in male individuals compared with female individuals," the study said. Even when other animal species, such as mice, were used, it also proved that males are more susceptible to air pollution than females.    During the study, the researchers discovered that the risk of having bad air intake symptoms due to pollution was much lower at steeper air pollution levels. "Furthermore, the nonlinear exposure-response curves suggested that the risk of incident depression and anxiety tended to be steeper at lower air pollution levels and plateauing at higher exposures, which have important implications for policy-making in air pollution control," they said. 

How Does Air Pollution Cause Depression and Anxiety? 

The study described how depression and anxiety could be part of bad air intake symptoms. They said that air pollution affects the central nervous system, which results in depression and anxiety someone might experience.    "Air pollution exposure may affect the central nervous system by inflammatory and oxidative stress pathways through olfactory receptor neurons, the trigeminal nerve, or the systemic circulation," the study clarified.  Even the World Health Organization made a similar remark in 2022 when they said that nearly everyone around the world breathes air that is not suitable for the body.