Is Air Pollution More Than Just an Issue For Our Lungs?

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Air pollution may be more than just an issue for our lungs; it can actually impair our judgements in everyday situations. New studies being carried out suggest that air pollution is directly linked to: impaired judgement, mental health problems, poorer performance at school, and even an increase in crime.

Given that the findings suggest this, it is startling to think that more than half the Earth’s population now live in urban environments; with more people travelling to congested areas all the time. As a result of this, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has suggested that nine out of 10 people frequently breathe in dangerous levels of polluted air — a staggering fact that results in over seven million deaths every year.

Dr Sefi Roth, Assistant Professor at the London School of Economics, carried out a study on students taking exams on different days; he also measured how much pollution was in the air on those chosen days. All other variables present in the study remained the same: the exams undertaken, students with a similar education, the location, but it was carried out over several different days.

Dr Roth described the difference in the average scores to be “staggering.”

On the days that the researchers measured the highest levels of pollution, students achieved the lowest test scores on average. On the days with the best air quality, students averaged the best test scores. Roth commented: “We could see a clear decline [of performance] on days that were more highly polluted,” he added, “even a few days before and a few days after, we found no effect – it’s really just on the day of the exam that the test score decreased significantly.”

The insights gained from this study led Dr Roth and his team to carry out a further study, analysing crime data from over 600 areas in London. His findings proved that more petty crimes occurred on the most polluted days, in both rich and poor areas. After establishing this, the team then analysed the movement of ‘pollution clouds’ around the city — whilst also recording the levels of crime where the pollution clouds occured. Again, proving Dr Roth’s suspicions, the results were the same as in the previous study. Where pollution clouds move, the level of crime increased; even in ‘more affluent’ areas.

The importance of technologies and services that can further prevent, detect, and manage airborne pollutants is therefore as important as it has ever been. The Clean Air Technology Expo is the UK’s largest event for businesses that provide air cleaning and monitoring technologies and services, all with the aim to manage existing air quality; ensuring it does not start to become increasingly dangerous to human health.

If your business offers innovative air quality products or services and you want to showcase them in front of over 6,000 influential decision makers from industry-leading businesses and councils, then please get in touch with Event Director Danny Rogers at daniel.rogers@prysmgroup.co.uk or call 0117 990 2005 for more information.