Air pollution is harming us all, humans and the entire planet. However, our children are also directly getting affected. A new study has linked short-term exposure to polluted air can exaggerate the symptoms of mental health issues in children.
The study was conducted by a team of researchers from Cincinnati. It notes that while air pollution has been linked to psychiatric disorder exacerbation in adults, it has not been studied in children.
The research paper concludes that the children, when exposed to ambient air pollution, experienced an exacerbation of psychiatric disorders. This was inferred by noticing the increased utilization of the Cincinnati Children’s emergency services for psychiatric issues.
“This study is the first to show an association between daily outdoor air pollution levels and increased symptoms of psychiatric disorders, like anxiety and suicidality, in children,” says Cole Brokamp, one of the lead authors. “More research is needed to confirm these findings, but it could lead to new prevention strategies for children experiencing symptoms related to a psychiatric disorder. The fact that children living in high poverty neighborhoods experienced greater health effects of air pollution could mean that pollutant and neighborhood stressors can have synergistic effects on psychiatric symptom severity and frequency.”
Acute exposure to ambient particulate matter lower than in aerodynamic diameter was measured for the purpose of this study. The paper was published in Environmental Health Perspectives. It suggests further such studies being conducted in other locations.