Air Pollution linked to anxiety in women

By – Nazina Belle 

Air Pollution as a result of vehicle combustion 


Researcher suggest that new analysis shows women living in areas with high air pollution may have higher anxiety, states Author Melinda C Power of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

Power went on to stated that this may relate to mental health and that if this is indeed true will eventually have an expanding impact of the population since everyone will be exposed, but more research is needed to build on the evidence already produced.

Researchers used women in the Nurses’ Health Study between the ages of 57 to 85 years, they filled out an eight question survey anxiety, 70,000 were surveyed.  The overall conclusion was that about 15% of the women survey had experienced high anxiety symptoms.

This conclusion was derived from using the women’s previous home address before they filled the anxiety questionnaire, the researchers then linked the women’s exposure to particulate matter in the air during the past 15 years, the factors considered were distance to major roadways, population density, local sources of emissions and wind speed.

Woman walking the street of Bangkok with a mask to protect herself from the polluted air 


Researchers found no clear link between anxiety levels and large air pollution particles, but exposure to fine particles was linked to increasing anxiety levels and noted that the more recent the exposure the higher the levels of anxiety would be.

Fine particulates in the air comes from combustion sources including cars and power plants, small particles travel deeper into the lungs causing the most effects in the human body, it is also linked to certain subtle conditions like inflammation. The observation study of this research claims that although it is not conclusive that, pollution causes anxiety, women living in more polluted areas may experience other sources of stress that would be linked to anxiety.

Vehicular traffic 


Power concluded stating that further study is needed to explore the possibility of this findings and evaluate whether there is a similar link among men and people of a young age. There is already substantial evidence that lower air pollution can improve cardiovascular health, respiratory health and reduce the risk of stroke and that there is a clear link between atmospheric pollution and risk of heart attack and heart failure and the only true solution to improving environmental conditions is by policy makers improving public transport systems in urban areas and reducing the number of vehicles on the road by increasing parking fees and imposing city tolls by looking at these areas would drastically reduce a major source of air pollution.

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