#AIR POL­LU­TION

Focus-Science and Technology - - DISCOVERIES TRENDING -

BREATHE EASY?

Air pol­lu­tion can shorten hu­man life by more than a year, a study at the Univer­sity of Texas has found. The team used health data from 185 coun­tries, taken from the Global Bur­den of Dis­ease Study, to es­ti­mate the ef­fect of ex­po­sure to par­tic­u­late mat­ter smaller than 2.5 mi­crons. These fine par­ti­cles can en­ter deep into the lungs and in­crease the risk of heart at­tacks, strokes, res­pi­ra­tory dis­eases and can­cer.

DUMB­ING DOWN

As well as neg­a­tively af­fect­ing our health, it seems air pol­lu­tion could also be mak­ing us less in­tel­li­gent. Researchers at Pek­ing Univer­sity have found that those ex­posed to higher lev­els of air pol­lu­tion per­formed sub­stan­tially worse in ver­bal and nu­mer­i­cal tests than those liv­ing in ar­eas with cleaner air. Though there is a clear cor­re­la­tion be­tween the two phe­nom­ena, the study doesn’t prove that there is a de­fin­i­tive causal link be­tween them.

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