Air pollution may be damaging 'every organ in the body'

  • Wednesday 22, May 2019 04:03 PM
Sharjah24 – Reuters: A comprehensive new global review has found that air pollution may be harming nearly every cell in the human body.
According to a review published in Chest Journal, the harmful effects of toxic air begin when it is inhaled.

Once in the lungs, it can cause breathing problems, including asthma and emphysema. It can also cause serious harm to the heart, with narrowing arteries and weakening muscles resulting in an increased risk of heart attacks.

Small pollution particles penetrate the lungs and are mistaken as bacteria by immune cells, which then release enzymes and acids to try and kill them.

These proteins spread around the body, causing systemic inflammation. The damage is far-reaching, affecting the brain, kidneys, and pancreas.

Brain conditions associated with pollution include stroke, dementia, and reduced intelligence. There's evidence to suggest poor sleep may also be a consequence of breathing in bad air.

The Guardian reports that research highlighted in the review links air pollution to various cancers, including in the bladder and gut.

Toxic air likewise affects bones and skin, and has been associated with brittle bones, skin aging, and hives.

According to the review, exposure to polluted air can lead to reduced fertility and increased miscarriages.

It poses a risk for unborn babies, with a recent study finding pollutants in fetal placentas.

Air pollution is also linked to low birth weights for babies, and can lead to stunted development in children.

Prof. Dean Schraufnagel, who led the reviews, is worried that doctors may be unaware of how much damage is associated with air pollution, and suggests they should pay attention, and then speak up and educate their patients.