The damaging health effects of air pollution – from reduced life expectancy to increased risk of disease – are common knowledge. Unfortunately, poor air quality is a global crisis with the World Health Organisation estimating that 90% of people are exposed to polluted air. The link between pollution and the lungs is clear, but many other harmful effects are less well understood. First among them, according to a growing body of research, is mental health.
Scientists have suggested a link between air pollution and cognitive functioning, mental health, and a person’s chances of developing illnesses such as dementia. This is concerning, especially as it further disadvantages people in developing countries who are most frequently exposed to unclean air. In this blog, we’ll look into the link between air pollution and mental health, as well as what can be done to reduce these harmful effects.
More than 300 million people worldwide are affected by mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety, according to the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), and this number is increasing every year. The NIH has also found that depression is explicitly one of the leading causes of lost years of healthy life and is expected to be in the top three causes globally by 2030. Researchers are rushing to find the causes of this dangerous increase in the prevalence of mental health issues, and air pollution has shown up as one potential culprit.
In 2019, Khan et al. conducted a comprehensive overview of data from the US and Denmark comparing the incidence of mental health issues against air quality. People living in an area with poor air quality have a
When many people imagine air pollution, they visualise large clouds of dark smoke outdoors. In reality, however, indoor air pollution can be equally or even more damaging than outdoor pollution. Particulate matter is predominantly common in workplaces with insufficient ventilation. There’s no excuse for exposing employees to an increased chance of mental health issues, but fortunately, there are steps that businesses can take.
Clean air isn’t the entire mental health equation – it’s still important to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle – but it is a significant one which employers have direct control over. Show your employees that you recognise the importance of clean air by working with Zehnder Clean Air Solutions to design a custom solution for your needs. Our advanced air cleaning units capture dust and particles at the source, so they never have the chance to harm employees.