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.
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.