Air Pollution Massively Reduces Intelligence
By Heather Callaghan, Editor
Research finds air pollution massively reduces intelligence – but the dumb solution to the problem just may put you out of a car! Keep reading to see how you can protect your intelligence…
Normally when everyone around seems so stupefied, we ask, is there something in the water? But maybe we should look to the air.
A recent Chinese study probed testing scores of 20,000 people and revealed major reductions in intelligent performance in areas where air pollution was high. Although it focuses on China, the lead author says this data applies to everyone, everywhere.
When people worry about environmental toxicants and their effects on human health – air pollution is strangely overlooked. Heavy metals and mercury belch out of industry towers and hydrocarbons spew out of idling vehicles, for instance. But worry and concern usually ebb and flow with alarmist media reports.
And one such report was just released by The Guardian today called, “Air pollution causes ‘huge’ reduction in intelligence, study reveals.”
According to them, high levels of toxic pollution are equivalent to losing an entire year of education – or, a loss of one month’s education for every 1mg rise in pollution over three years.
(We certainly hope that’s not true.) The report says that 95% of the world’s population is breathing unsafe air and that air pollution causes short-term impacts – meaning that on a particularly bad pollution day, it could affect test results for college students.
From The Guardian:
The new work, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, analysed language and arithmetic tests conducted as part of the China Family Panel Studies on 20,000 people across the nation between 2010 and 2014. The scientists compared the test results with records of nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide pollution.
They found the longer people were exposed to dirty air, the bigger the damage to intelligence, with language ability more harmed than mathematical ability and men more harmed than women. The researchers said this may result from differences in how male and female brains work.
“Polluted air can cause everyone to reduce their level of education by one year, which is huge,” said Xi Chen at Yale School of Public Health in the US, a member of the research team. “But we know the effect is worse for the elderly, especially those over 64, and for men, and for those with low education. If we calculate [the loss] for those, it may be a few years of education.”
Air pollution causes seven million premature deaths a year but the harm to people’s mental abilities is less well known. A recent study found toxic air was linked to “extremely high mortality” in people with mental disorders and earlier work linked it to increased mental illness in children, while another analysis found those living near busy roads had an increased risk of dementia.
The researchers noted that the damage to intelligence was worse in ages older than age 64. Keep in mind (um – if we still can) that correlation does not equal causation.
However, as Derrick Ho of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University said,
It is because high air pollution can potentially be associated with oxidative stress, neuroinflammation, and neurodegeneration of humans.
Chen goes as far as saying this is not just mere correlation and researchers say they ruled out all other variable factors.
Beware – this information is being used to buttress Agenda 21 policies. For instance, a spokesperson for Doctors Against Diesel said, that the government should “urgently  remove heavily-polluting vehicles from our roads.”
Excuse me? Has everyone lost their minds? (Oh, wait…)
But seriously, in 2018? We should go backwards instead of innovating non-polluting vehicles? Would you like a policy that bans you from driving?
Of course this news prompted cries for the government(s) to act “urgently” with the convenient oversight that the government regulatory agencies allowed corporations to create new toxicants and release them indiscriminately on the Earth in the first place.
Personal health solution
Since the pollution is creating oxidative and inflammatory stress on the body, it would make sense that one strategy to combat oxidative stress is a diet full of antioxidants (fruits and vegetables!).
Leafy greens and vegetables for instance, are shown to help keep your “crystallized intelligence.” That’s the important education you’ve shored up over a lifetime. And grapes and blueberries combined are a dynamic duo against memory loss and aging.
Of course, I’m not suggesting that diet alone can combat every avenue of toxic substances we encounter each day – but it’s an okay start…
What do you think of this pollution business? Let me know below!
DISCLAIMER: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
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