The most recent issue of Monitor on Psychology has an interesting article on the effects of air pollution on human cognition.
Key takeaways from the article:
- Fine particulate matter (particles less than 2.5 micrometer in diameter) affects brain performance as this can easily penetrate into the human body. For example, humans exposed to high levels of black carbon showed decrements in cognitive performance - the extent was the same as the cognitive decline induced by two years of aging.
- While there is not a lot of research on the effects of coarse particulate matter (particles ranging from 2.5-10 micrometers) on cognition, the preliminary evidence seems to imply that coarse particulate matter can impact human cognition as well.
- Air pollution also affects children – kids exposed to high levels of air pollutants have a higher likelihood of experiencing attentional problems.
- Air pollution also has a negative effect on anxiety and depression.
Photo credit Sergeev Pavel via Wikimedia Commons.